Cape Town – South African Airways Cargo division has issued a notice confirming it will once again be transporting selected hunting trophies, effective since 20 July.

Traveller24 reported on SAA’s decision to ban the transportation, initially put into effect in April 2015, following an incident in which hunting trophies were allegedly shipped to Perth, Australia under a false label of ‘mechanical equipment’.

The move was hailed by conservationists and responsible tourism operators both locally and internationally, with the world’s largest airline Emirates following suit and instituting its own ban on the transportation of hunting trophies.

SAA Cargo announced the lifting of the embargo in a cargo policy and procedures advisory, dated 20 July 2015, saying the airline had been engaging with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). It said the DEA’s implementation of “additional compliance measures for permits and documentation” caused the airline to review its embargo and that it has since been lifted on the transportation of selected hunting trophies, namely “rhino, elephants, lion and tiger”.

The move was hailed by conservationists and responsible tourism operators both locally and internationally, with the world’s largest airline Emirates following suit and instituting its own ban on the transportation of hunting trophies.

SAA Cargo announced the lifting of the embargo in a cargo policy and procedures advisory, dated 20 July 2015, saying the airline had been engaging with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). It said the DEA’s implementation of “additional compliance measures for permits and documentation” caused the airline to review its embargo and that it has since been lifted on the transportation of selected hunting trophies, namely “rhino, elephants, lion and tiger”.

The airline said the hunting trophy cargo would also be “liable to physical and documentary inspection by the relevant nature conservation authorities, as they deem fit”.

While the ban was never meant to be indefinite, the move by SAA Cargo comes as the contentious issue of canned hunting takes centre stage, with the #Animalrightsintourism trending at number two across South Africa at the time of publishing.

The issue is also being highlighted in the Blood Lions documentary by Ian Michler of Invent Africa  – one of the continent’s finest wildlife guides, as well as an outspoken conservationist who has fought for the protection of African wilderness and wildlife. For 15 years Ian has researched and campaigned against the canned lion hunting industry in South Africa.

‘Blood Lions’ is due for release at the Durban International Film Festival on 22nd July.