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Cecil the Lion - a Senseless Killing      

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In memory of Cecil

The senseless killing of Cecil, an iconic African lion illegally shot by an American trophy hunter in Zimbabwe earlier this year has sparked worldwide outrage over the continued slaughter of threatened and endangered animals in the name of sport. African lions, along with elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffalo and other species, are prized targets for trophy hunters, who travel around the globe hoping to bring home pieces of dead animals as proof of their conquests. We need you to help us stop this cruelty.

With Cecil's death, the world has come to realize the truly horrific nature of trophy hunting. Africa's wild animals are part of our global heritage and must be protected from needless slaughter for the sake of a head-hunting exercise. Hundreds of thousands of trophies have been traded legally around the world over the years.

Not only was Cecil a well-known and loved tourist attraction important for Zimbabwe’s economy, but he was wearing a tracking collar to allow researchers at Oxford University to follow his movements and study lion behaviour to help with his protection. Somewhere between 500 and 800 lions are killed by trophy hunters every year in Africa, and yet there might only be 30,000 lions left, where one there were 200,000 throughout Africa. It is thought that for every male lion killed, 10 or 12 cubs die, as fights begin for control of the pride.

Trophy hunting contributes a small fraction of the dollars generated by non-hunting tourism in Africa. What’s more, trophy hunting takes animals out of the population, seriously damaging the experience and interest in wildlife tourism, as we’ve seen with Cecil. Millions of Africans who work in the tourism sector took care of the 56 million people who travelled to Africa to watch wildlife during 2013. This pales in comparison to the handful of people who accompanied a few thousand trophy hunters who also travelled to Africa that year. It’s high time for African states to reconsider the supposed value of trophy hunting to their economies and the harm it is causing to wildlife populations.

Wildlife-based ecotourism brought an estimated $34.2 billion in tourist receipts in 2013, according to a report by the World Tourism Organization. Meanwhile a study of nine countries that offer trophy hunting found that, in 2011, tourism contributed, on average, 2.4 percent of GDP, and trophy hunting only 0.09 percent of GDP.

In the wake of the death of Cecil the lion, more than 40 airlines and shipping companies, including Qantas and Virgin (full list below), have shown their commitment to protecting wildlife and biodiversity by banning the transport of hunting trophies, urged on by HSI.  By giving trophy hunters -- and poachers -- a way to transport pieces of these majestic creatures, airlines provide a getaway vehicle for the theft of Africa’s wildlife. Without a way to get their trophies home, these hunters would have little motivation to carry on with their deadly hobby. HSI has been petitioning all airlines to end the transport of hunting trophies from Africa and we have included an information sheet listing these airlines.  Unfortunately Fedex and UPS have declared they will continue to transport this deadly cargo so we have included their contact details in case you would like to write to them.

Global statistics show that Australia has recently seen a significant increase in imports of hunting trophies, but HSI has succeeded in convincing the Commonwealth Government not to allow the export of pre-trade convention rhino horns and not to allow saltwater crocodile trophies to be exported from safari hunting tours; stopped the sale and export of rhino horn and ivory antiques from a major Sydney auction house; and supported the Commonwealth Environment Minister’s ban on the import of lion trophies taken in “canned hunts”. But we aim to do much for the animals, and we need your help as ever!

Working with our Washington and European offices in particular, HSI is lobbying to see the lion listed as an endangered species under US law, thereby stopping all trophy imports (the US imported 18,218 lion trophies between 1975 and 2103, and the ban would be a major blow to safari hunting and a major boost to the survival of the lion); urging countries to abandon cruel and wasteful trophy hunting in favour of non-consumptive ecotourism; continuing to urge airlines not to transport hunting trophies; fighting hard on a current government review of our wildlife trade laws in an effort to stop them being weakened; continuing to work with auction houses to better control trade in wildlife antiques; and developing a national and international advertising campaign against hunting. Please help us achieve these goals for the animals……

The death of Cecil was a watershed moment in wildlife protection. This one horrifying act has shone a global spotlight on the ethics of hunting.  Cecil might have died a gruesome and unnecessary death but the national and international attention on ethical tourism should not be wasted.  Ethical tourism makes good sense for communities and countries and greater efforts in driving this may be Cecil’s real legacy.

Help us make the most of this shocking world event.  We need to do all we can to give lions and all wildlife the legal protection they are in such desperate need of. 


HSI URGED major airlines to stop shipping Big Five trophies


Following the killing of Cecil the lion and urged on by HSI, over 30 airlines and shipping companies – including Qantas and Virgin – have banned the transport of hunting trophies.  Without trophy-transport home, hunters will have little motivation for their deadly hobby.

Unfortunately, South African Airways, Fedex and UPS continue to transport this gruesome cargo.  HSI have conacted these three companies asking them to join the global push to stop airlifting hunting trophies.

Airlines and Sea Freight Companies Banning Transport of Trophies 

Etihad Airways

Air Berlin


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin America

Virgin Australia



Brussels Airlines

Qatar Airways

Air France

British Airways


IAG Cargo


Singapore Airways



Air Canada

Austrian Airlines


American Airlines

Air Europa

Binter Canarias





Hawaiian Airlines

Swiss International Air Lines


LOT Polish Airlines

Royal Jordanian Air

Air New Zealand

SriLankan Airlines

THY - Turkish Airlines


Aer Lingus

Ethiopian Airlines

Iberia Airlines





World Baggage


Transglobal express


Tudor International Freight Limited

Mediterranean Shipping Company






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