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American Airlines bans transport of big animal game trophies

Cecil the lion roams on the plains in Hwange National Park in November 2012 in Zimbabwe. In July 2015, an American dentist named W. Palmer killed Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow during an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe. American Airlines is the latest carrier to ban transport of big game trophies.
Cecil the lion roams on the plains in Hwange National Park in November 2012 in Zimbabwe. In July 2015, an American dentist named W. Palmer killed Cecil the lion with a bow and arrow during an illegal hunt in Zimbabwe. American Airlines is the latest carrier to ban transport of big game trophies. ZUMAPRESS.COM/TNS

American Airlines has said that it will no longer transport big game trophies, the latest carrier to announce such a policy since a popular lion named Cecil was killed by a recreational hunter in Zimbabwe.

The world’s largest airline, which has its second-busiest hub in Charlotte, announced on Twitter Monday that it would no longer carry buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion or rhino carcasses.

Spokesman Ross Feinstein said it’s largely a symbolic gesture since the airline does not serve Africa but prohibits carrying such items on any flight.

The first ban was initiated by South African Airways in April, followed by British Airways, Emirates and Lufthansa.

United Airlines on Monday also said it would prohibit transportation of the five exotic animals. Hours later, Delta Air Lines, which has direct service to Africa, adopted a similar ban.

Last month American Airlines reported its most profitable quarter ever, after excluding one-time costs and gains.

More than 90 percent of travelers flying through Charlotte Douglas International Airport use American or US Airways. The two merged in December 2013 and American has said the combined airline will have a single, unified reservation system by Oct. 17.

Staff writer Katherine Peralta contributed.

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