By Azad Essa | From Aljazeera via Yahoo News
A recent decision by international airlines to ban the transport of animal trophies will damage South Africa’s economy, the government has said.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) told Al Jazeera on Friday that many South Africans living in rural areas are reliant on “hunting that takes place under regulated and coordinated conditions”, and called for international airlines to revoke the decision.
“Many people are happy that illegal hunting will be affected, but we support legal hunting and it also plays an important role in our economy,” Albi Modise, spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs, told Al Jazeera.
The South African government said in a statement that the decision by Delta Air Lines to enforce a blanket ban failed to distinguish between legal trade and transportation of wildlife specimens versus the illegal ones.
Modise’s comments come after American airline, Delta Air Lines, said that it would no longer transport lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo trophies. Other airlines, including American Airlines and United Airlines, Air Canada, Air France and Qantas have also announced a similar ban.
The bans come amid unprecedented international outrage over an American dentist’s killing of a lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe. The incident also set off a fierce debate in neighbouring South Africa over the practice of hunting captive-bred lions.
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