A Chinese woman, nicknamed “Ivory Queen” has been slammed a sentence of 15 years by a Tanzanian court. Her offense, the smuggling of elephant tusks to Asia numbering over 350 in total. This is a huge victory with respect to curbing poaching of the almost extinct animal species.
In October 2015, Yang Feng Glan was arrested along with two Tanzanian men and charged for smuggling 860 ivory pieces. They were reported to have carried out the smuggling operation between 2000 and 2004. Their proceeds were in the region of about 13 billion shillings which is equivalent to $5.3 million. The prominent Chinese businesswoman, however, denied the claim.
According to Tanzanian Police, the 69-year-old businesswoman had been resident in Tanzania since the 1970s making her a very fluent Swahili speaker. Yang runs a Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam and serves as the Secretary-General of China-Africa Business Council in Tanzania.
The presiding judge, Huruma Shaidi, placed the 15-year sentence on the three convicted criminals, Manase Philemon, Salivius Matembo, and Yang. He also added that they are required to pay twice the value of the tusks on the market or serve an additional two years.
A major reason for the poaching and smuggling of ivory to Asia is that there is a huge demand for ivory, especially in China and Vietnam. The ivory is converted to jewelry and other ornaments and resold.