The Namibia Professional Hunting Association (Napha)’s president Kai-Uwe Denker in a media statement issued on Wednesday commended the move, noting that the illegal trafficking of wildlife products, especially elephant tusks and rhino horns, and unacceptable hunting methods such as canned lion and tiger shooting, are a worldwide concern by the conservation-orientated public.
“As such, the decision, based on actual abuse, has to be accepted. The onus now is on all stakeholders, inclusive of SAA, to see to it that actions, controls and regulations are put in place to prevent future abuse of the system, as transpired here, so that the ban can be lifted again. After all, it is of great concern that the confiscated ivory, which led to the drastic action taken by SAA, was on board one of their flights unbeknownst to the airline,” he stated.
SAA Cargo, a division of the airlines, issued a Policy and Procedures Advisory on 21 April 2015 to its internal stakeholders about the embargo put in place on the transportation of hunting trophies. This is limited to only rhino, elephant, tiger, and lion trophies.
SAA took the decision after a shipment lodged as machinery spare parts was discovered in Australia whilst in transit to Kuala Lumpur during that same month. The shipment contained elephant tusks and was seized.
SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said in a recent media statement that it is enforcing the embargo until all other options have been considered and stricter control measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence.
The illegal trafficking of wildlife products has become a multi-billion dollar industry and airlines have fallen victim to the unlawful trade. The company raised the concern that its department, SAA Cargo, has in the past experienced a problem where some of the shipments containing hunting trophies were subject to a misdeclaration and the company was fined in a foreign country. SAA Cargo received a Notice of Seizure on 30 April 2015 and had to act swiftly to curb the problem of illegal transportation of animals, according to Tlali.
Denker commended the airline, which he said is known to be supportive of the “sustainable-use principle”. He suggested that the hunting-fraternity unanimously condemn the unacceptable practice of canned-shooting, or as it is nowadays called “captive bred shooting”, and that conservation authorities all over the world implement regulations forbidding the artificial breeding of wild animals for the hunting industry.
“Only then can sustainable trophy hunting regain its rightful place as an important conservation tool to the benefit of wildlife and natural habitats,” Denker added.