Cecil, a catalyst for change

By now everyone has probably heard in one form or another of the fracas over the killing of a tagged lion in Africa by an American trophy hunter. The killing of Cecil the lion, who had been GPS-tagged for scientific study, awoke the ire of global netizens after the story went viral.


By now everyone has probably heard in one form or another of the fracas over the killing of a tagged lion in Africa by an American trophy hunter. The killing of Cecil the lion, who had been GPS-tagged for scientific study, awoke the ire of global netizens after the story went viral.

It was all quite appalling, that in this day-and-age rich trophy hunters can travel half way around the world to a poorer country to ‘bag’ some exotic animal, returning home with the taxidermied head to mount on their wall. This particular case was even more pathetic due to the fact Cecil was lured out of a protected national park where he was then shot by a dentist ‘on safari’.

But what was interesting in this all from an air cargo perspective, was how quickly the link was made to the transport of these gruesome trophies back to the, surely well-appointed, homes of the trophy hunters. Like cascading dominoes, one air carrier after another stepped up and decreed the trophy hunting practice saying they were henceforth banning the carriage of such cargo.

Now the problem here is that while many (most?) were surely well meaning, one could not help but smell the familiar scent of proactive public relations damage control. Many of these same airlines were probably still smarting from the ‘name and shame’ campaign successfully mounted by environmental groups against carriers transporting shark’s fins which is seriously endangering the global existence of a number shark species.