Hunters and others looking to ship lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo heads and other big-game trophies across the world still have options available, even as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Air Canada announced this week that they will no longer allow such cargo on their planes.
Shipments of hunting trophies are still allowed by United Parcel Service, a UPS spokeswoman told The Washington Post on Tuesday, noting that the global shipping giant follows U.S. and international laws, not public opinion, in determining what it will and won’t ship.
“There are many items shipped in international commerce that may spark controversy,” UPS public relations director Susan Rosenberg wrote in an e-mail. “The views on what is appropriate for shipment are as varied as the audiences that hold these views.
“UPS takes many factors under consideration in establishing its shipping policies, including the legality of the contents and additional procedures required to ensure compliance. We avoid making judgments on the appropriateness of the contents. All shipments must comply with all laws, including any relevant documentation from the shipper required in the origin and destination location of the shipments.”
Although FedEx doesn’t ship animal carcasses, the company “may accept legitimate shipments of parts for taxidermy purposes if they meet our shipping guidelines,” a spokesman said in an e-mail to The Post.
“These are legitimate shipments, not shipments that are illegally obtained,” spokesman Jim McCluskey wrote Tuesday. “Our priority is to ensure we abide by laws and regulations for all shipments.”
The policies of airlines and shipping companies are drawing extra attention and scrutiny following the death of one of Africa’s most iconic lions, which was killed in a hunt this summer.
That lion, known as Cecil, was killed in Zimbabwe by an American big-game hunter, an act that has sparked international outrage. Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist, has said he had “no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favorite.”
“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said last week in a statement obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Delta announced its ban in an afternoon statement Monday, saying it was “effective immediately.”
“Prior to this ban, Delta’s strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species,” the carrier said. “Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments.”
Read more: Washington Post