Cape Town - South African Airways Cargo has taken a decision to place a total embargo on its worldwide services for the transportation of hunting trophies, effective 21 April 2015.
The embargo was issued after SAA Cargo was fined by the Civil Aviation Authority following an incident in which hunting trophies were allegedly shipped to Perth, Australia under a false label of 'mechanical equipment', SAA Cargo's Tebogo Mofokeng told Traveller24.
Traveller24 also contacted the CAA to confirm further details regarding the incident but no response has been received as yet.
The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), which issues hunting permits to foreigners, said it would be attending to the matter urgently after receiving a letter notifying it of the SAA Cargo embargo.
The letter, dated 21 April 2015, was posted to an online hunting forum Huntingreport.com, and is signed by SAA Cargo Manager for Compliance and Foreign Operations, Lerato Mophethe.
It states, "Please be advised that South African Airways Cargo has taken a decision to place a total embargo on the transportation of hunting trophies (Rhino, Elephant, Lion and Tiger) on its services worldwide.
"Please note that no exceptions will be made even if the shipper has a valid permit issued by the relevant authorities."
PHASA said it was unclear whether the embargo only referred to the four hunting trophies mentioned or all hunting trophies from South Africa, calling into question the inclusion of 'tiger', not found naturally in SA. It is also unclear until when the embargo would be in place.
Traveller24 previously reported last year of an African elephant that was shot, stuffed and shipped to Romania, which sparked serious debate around the tourism hunting industry.
The creature was shot and killed by Ioan Niculae, a Romanian billionaire who founded agricultural company InterAgro, in Hoedspruit, Limpopo in February 2013.
Niculae, said to be a hunting fanatic, requested that his gigantic 'prize' be stuffed by a local taxidermist and shipped off to his home country when done. The process from hunting to taxidermy is estimated to have cost Niculae close to R1-million.
ALSO READ: SA elephant shot dead, stuffed and shipped off to the richest man in Romania
While SAA is said to only handle a small portion of the hunting trophies cargo market, with Delta being a major player in this cargo field - many would agree the embargo is an advancement of the protection of South African wildlife. However hunting and tourism driven authorities like PHASA would argue the opposite, since an embargo against one of South Africa's key economic trades could be seen as a bullet in the heart of the tourism hunting industry.
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