Wildlife campaigners celebrate after Tanzania sends Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ to prison for 15 years

Wildlife campaigners celebrate after Tanzania sends Chinese ‘Ivory Queen’ to prison for 15 years
  • On Tuesday, a Dar es Salaam court convicted Yang Fenglan, 69, for her role in illegal ivory trade in the East African nation.
  • Ms Fenglan was found guilty for trafficking 706 elephant tusks worth $2.5 million between 2000 and 2014.
  • Until her arrest in 2015, she was vice president of the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania.

A Chinese woman dubbed the ‘Ivory Queen’ will spent the next 15 years of her life at a Tanzanian prison.

On Tuesday, a Dar es Salaam court convicted Yang Fenglan, 69, for her role in illegal ivory trade in the East African nation.

Ms Fenglan was found guilty for trafficking 706 elephant tusks worth $2.5 million between 2000 and 2014.

"The prosecution proved the case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt," Judge Huruma Shaidi told the court.

She has been sentenced alongside two Tanzanian men - Salvius Matembo and Philemon Manase.

Ms Fenglan, who has lived in since the 1970s, had been charged with leading one of Africa's biggest ivory smuggling rings, responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of elephants. She was convicted of organising a smuggling ring between Tanzania and Asia.

Until her arrest in 2015, she was vice president of the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania.

Poaching has seen the population of African elephants fall by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000 animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The slaughter is being fuelled especially by demand in Asia, where ivory is used for jewellery and ornamentation.

Wildlife campaigners have welcome the ruling and termed it one of the most important cases for several years.

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