Victory Map: Delta Air Lines Bans Shipment of Big Game Hunting Trophies Amidst Outrage Over Cecil

Aug 13, 2015

Every day people are winning campaigns on Change.org that address issues big and small. We’ll take a look at these victories and how the world changed in the last week.

Last week, Delta Air Lines banned the transport of exotic animal hunting trophies on its planes in response to a petition with more than 395,000 signatures and a public angered by the death of Cecil the Lion.

Chris Green, Incoming Executive Director of Harvard Law School’s Animal Law Program, started the petition on May 7 asking Delta Air Lines to ban the transport of trophies – animals’ heads and bodies that hunters bring home to stuff and mount – a week after South African Airways declared an embargo on transporting trophies made from rhinos, lions, elephants, and tigers.

Photo by Daughter#3 via Flickr

Photo by Daughter#3 via Flickr

Green recognized one key way to make South African Airways’ embargo effective was to make all carriers honor the hunting trophy transport ban.

Why target Delta first? It is one of the world’s largest airlines and the only U.S.-based carrier with direct service to South Africa where “more than a thousand rhinos were poached last year, elephant populations have plummeted 66% in just five years, and the export of lion ‘trophies’ increased ten-fold,” according to Green’s petition. Hunting of big game animals such as these is depleting Africa of the very attractions that many of Delta’s customers are traveling to see.

Less than two weeks after it was started, the petition had 142,000 signatures, largely due to rapid sharing over social media. Green continued that push on Twitter, asking supporters to tweet directly at Delta.

Then Cecil – one of the most photographed lions in the world – was illegally killed by an American on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe. Outrage blanketed social media and more pressure mounted on Delta and other airlines to stop the transport of trophies.

Three months after the petition was launched, and nearly 400,000 signatures later, Delta agreed to ban the transport of certain exotic animal hunting trophies. In that same period of time British Airways, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qantas, Qatar, Etihad, Iberia, Singapore, and Brussels Airlines also agreed to the ban.

“The irony here is just a couple of days before the Cecil news broke, South African Airways (SAA) rescinded its ban based on pressure from hunting groups,” Green told CBS News.

Victory for Health | Victory for Human Rights | Biggest Victory | Small Victory

Victory for Health | Victory for Human Rights | Biggest Victory | Small Victory

Leveraging the publicity of the Delta victory, a photographer in South Africa started a new petition asking South African Airways to reinstate its ban on the transport of hunting trophies. Other recent petitions are asking shipping carriers UPS and FedEx to stop transport of hunting trophies as well.


Here are some other petitions that might interest you:

Want to join the movement to curb big game hunting?