NPR logo Delta And American Ban Big Game Trophies As Airline Freight

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Delta And American Ban Big Game Trophies As Airline Freight

The death of Cecil the lion, lured out of a protected area in Zimbabwe, has led Delta Airlines to stop shipping big-game trophies. Andy Loveridge/AP hide caption

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Andy Loveridge/AP

The death of Cecil the lion, lured out of a protected area in Zimbabwe, has led Delta Airlines to stop shipping big-game trophies.

Andy Loveridge/AP

Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET

Delta says it will no longer allow freight shipments of big game trophies. The decision follows the killing of a popular lion in Zimbabwe.

The airline said in a statement on Monday that, effective immediately, it "will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies."

Hours later, American Airlines announced the same policy in a statement on Twitter.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports that Delta is one of the few major American carriers with direct flights between the U.S. and Africa. "From now on, big game hunters are going to have to find another way to get their so-called trophies home," she says.

Jackie says that other major airlines such as Lufthansa, Qantas and Emirates have already put similar bans in place. She reports: "Delta was under pressure from activists to change its policies and stop transporting the animals. Nearly 400,000 people signed an online petition at Change.org."

Correction Aug. 4, 2015

A previous version of this post stated that Delta is the only major American carrier with direct flights between the U.S. and Africa. United Airlines also offers direct routes.