South Africa Airlines will no longer transport your trophies:
Shooting a marvel of nature and shipping its carcass home seems an odd practice to many. But business is roaring. An estimated 1,000 captive lions are shot dead by mostly American and European tourists on South African ranches annually. That's nearly double the number of wild lions felled across the entire continent. Killing beasts in fenced-off, private property is easier than gunning them down on their own turf. It's also much cheaper: tourists can pay $20,000 for a captive male, compared with $75,000 for a wild one. The expansion of the “canned hunting” industry—which breeds lions by isolating mothers from their cubs to jumpstart ovulation—has lifted African trophy hunting revenues to $200m a year.
For SAA, making money from this booming trade should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Tourists have few options but to load their spoils onto planes for one final journey, providing the flag-carrier with lucrative custom beneath the passenger deck as well as above it. Cargo can account for up to 10% of a passenger airline’s revenue. In an industry with average annual profit margins of 1-2% per cent, that is nothing to sniff at. Cargo is also one of the more trouble-free aspects of the business: freight doesn't complain when you push it around; and many of the fixed costs of getting a plane airborne apply regardless of how full the cargo hold happens to be. SAA, which is in financial straits, can ill-afford to turn away such easy money.
No matter how profitable and defensible, SAA has decided that trophy kill cargo is bad business.
Good on them. And maybe someday we'll give lions rifles and turn them loose on hunters. Or just skip the rifles.