Trophy hunting in Africa found an unlikely opponent this week when Emirates Airlines joined South African Airlines in refusing to carry any part of a dead lion, tiger, rhino or elephant.
The airline said it made the decision in an effort to “eliminate illegal trading and transportation of hunting trophy animals worldwide and save wildlife,” according to a National Geographic report.
An estimated 1,000 captive lions are hunted by on private property in South African for around $20,000. A wild hunt on the other hand costs around $75,000, amounting to annual trophy hunting revenue sin South Africa of $2 million, according to the Economist.
Big game hunting in Africa has come under increased scrutiny in recent months following remarks by outspoken comedian Ricky Gervais regarding to Rebecca Francis, the winner of Extreme Huntress photographed with a dead giraffe. Francis reportedly faced death threats over the comments.
Meanwhile, in Zambia, the government there has lifted the ban on hunting lions in an effort to bring in more tourist revenue to the country. A tourism and arts minister told the Lusaka Times that leopards – which had been banned since 2013 – can be hunted this year, but lions only next year in the 2016-17 season.
Opposition leader Peter Sinkamba decried moving, citing the country’s crude estimates of between 2,500 and 4,700 lions that are depleted and limited due to poaching.
“Much as we are aware that the PF government is facing serious budget deficit challenges, it is extremely outrageous to resort to unleashing safari hunters on to limited populations of big cat species, regardless the fact that safari hunting is allegedly most profitable,” he told the newspaper.
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