Rhino, South Africa. Photo:

South African Airways (SAA) has today issued a public statement regarding the embargo on the transportation of hunting trophies. The embargo is limited to rhino, elephant, lion and tiger.

Rhino, South Africa. Photo: Yaël De Bruyckere‎

SAA confirmed that on 21 April 2015 SAA Cargo issued a Policy and Procedures Advisory to its internal stakeholders advising of the embargo, which came as a result of an incident in Australia.

SAA explained today that in the past, specifically earlier this month, SAA Cargo has experienced problems where some of the shipments containing hunting trophies were mis-declared and SAA Cargo was fined in a foreign country.

The case in point happened in early April when a shipment lodged as machinery spare parts was discovered in Australia whilst in transit to Kuala Lumpur. The shipment contained elephant tusks and was seized. SAA Cargo was subsequently issued with a Notice of Seizure.

“We had to act swiftly to curb the problem of illegal transportation of animals,” says Tlali Tlali, SAA Spokesperson.

The embargo is seen by many as a step in the right direction to protecting South African wildlife, although others argue that the SA hunting tourism industry is important economically to South Africa.

Most trophies are transported via Delta and not SAA.

SAA Cargo will keep the embargo in place until all other options have been considered and stricter control measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence. “When such measures are implemented we will advise all stakeholders accordingly in South Africa and at our international stations,” said Tlali.