The Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) has claimed on their website that South African Airways (SAA) Cargo has placed an embargo on the transportation of hunting trophies (rhino, elephant, lion and tiger) on its services worldwide. This embargo is allegedly with immediate effect and no exceptions will be made, even if the shipper has a valid permit issued by the relevant authorities.
Africa Geographic has been unable to confirm this claim with SAA, and posts on their Facebook page have gone unanswered. There is the possibility that this website post by PHASA could be a pre-emptive campaign to put pressure on SAA who might be considering such a decision, with the possible aim of forcing SAA to issue a public denial.
The Hunting Report says on their website that they have “done some digging and obtained a copy of the relevant internal document shown here.” (see below)
Many South African and international conservation groups have expressed thanks to South African Airways for their apparent bold and principled decision to assist authorities to combat illegal wildlife trafficking of ivory, rhino horn, lion and tiger bones.
The illegal trafficking of wildlife products has become a multi-billion dollar industry and the airways are constantly looking for new ways to combat the illegal trade. Recently sniffer dogs have been introduced to many of the international airports in South Africa. SAA have also put their personnel through rigorous training in order for them to be able to identify various different wildlife products.
It will be interesting to watch this space to see if the report is true and if other international airlines also take this step to clamp down on illegal wildlife trade.