South African Airways Lifts Cargo Embargo Of Hunting Trophies
South African Airways has lifted its cargo embargo, instituted April 21, 2015, that precluded the shipment of hunting trophies through its system. Safari Club International and others in the hunting community, including the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), have been working feverishly since to have the embargoes lifted.
Without consulting the hunting community, South African Airways placed the worldwide embargo against transporting hunting trophies. Soon thereafter, some other airlines followed suit. However, Delta Airlines continued to carry hunting trophies throughout the embargo period.
“SCI will continue to work closely with several of our U.S. and international partners, including PHASA, to roll back the remaining air and sea cargo embargoes,” said SCI President Larry Higgins. “SCI and our partners will also engage relevant stakeholders in Washington, D.C., where and when appropriate, to seek their cooperation in our efforts. In the meantime, we should continue to support those airlines and businesses, both in the U.S. and internationally, that reaffirmed their commitment to the sportsmen and our freedom to hunt.”
SCI, PHASA and others in the hunting community will continue to work to have the remaining airline embargoes lifted. Still in effect are embargoes at IAG Cargo (British Airways/ Iberia Airways), Etihad, Emirates, Qatar, Brussels, Qantas, Singapore and Lufthansa.
“The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) has welcomed the decision by South African Airways (SAA) to reverse the embargo it had effected on 21 April this year…. on the carrier’s services worldwide,” PHASA reported.
Adri Kitshoff, PHASA Chief Executive Officer, said that the reversal brought SAA’s directives regarding the transport of legally hunted trophies in line with the South African Government’s policy of “sustainable utilisation” of its natural resources.
Kitshoff expressed PHASA’s appreciation to the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for their intervention in the matter as well as to SAA for the opportunity to meet with the carrier’s executives and to explain to them the importance of hunting to Africa’s economy and conservation programs. She said that PHASA’s efforts to overturn the embargo through the direct negotiation with SAA, the DEA and Minister Edna Molewa since April had finally paid off.
Kitshoff said she is hopeful that other airlines and shipping lines that have refused to transport hunting trophies will follow SAA’s lead.
“SAA has elected to fight the illicit trade in wildlife products through more stringent control methods instead of placing restrictions on the transport of legally hunted sport trophies. The same remedy is available to the other carriers,” she said.
“There is a clear distinction between illegal wildlife products, such as poached rhino horn or ivory, and legitimate hunting trophies. The export of trophies is strictly regulated by both the country of origin, the country of import and, where applicable, CITES,” she added.
South African Airways Cargo Policy and Procedure Advisory No. 278, dated July 20, 2015 and signed by Lerato Mophethe, Manager Compliance & Foreign Operations, explained:
“Since the placement of the embargo SAA Cargo has been engaging with the Department of Environmental Affairs on the issue. We have decided to review the embargo after the DEA have given us assurance that additional measures will be put in place to ensure compliance with all the required permits and documentation. Further note that all such trophies shall be liable for physical and documentary inspection by the relevant nature conservation authorities as they deem fit.
“The airline shall accept no liability for any damage or delay occasioned by such inspections, verification of documentation or any other action deemed necessary by the relevant authorities in South Africa or anywhere where such trophies are transshipped or destined.”