A Chinese businesswoman known as the "Ivory Queen" was sentenced by a Tanzanian judge to 15 years in prison for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants.
69-year-old Yang Feng Glan was charged in October 2015 with two Tanzanian men smuggled over 860 ivory worth 13 billion shillings (5.6 million USD) over several years to Asia.
Kisutu court judge Huruma Shaidi sentenced the trio to fifteen years' imprisonment on Tuesday after being convicted of having organized an organized criminal gang. All three had denied the allegations.
Shaidi also ordered them either to pay double the market value of the elephant tusks or to face another two years in prison.
In court documents, the Yang Procuratorate purposely managed to administer and finance a criminal thug by collecting, transporting or exporting and selling state trophies totaling 1
The conservators welcomed Yang's conviction and said it was proof of the government's seriousness in the fight against wildlife poaching, criticizing the verdict.
"[It] is not a punishment for the atrocities she committed by being responsible for the poaching of thousands of elephants in Tanzania," said Amani Ngusaru, WWF Country Director, to Reuters.
"She maintained a network where thousands of elephants were killed."
Industrial scale poaching
Yang was taken under strict security forces to Ukonga Prison in Dar es Salaam, where she is awaiting her term of imprisonment.
According to the police, Yang (69) had been living in Tanzania since the 1970s and was Secretary-General of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council. As spokeswoman for the Swahili, she owns a popular Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam.
In the last decade alone, Africa has lost about 110,000 elephants, with an estimated 415,000 elephants living on the continent, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.
In Tanzania, the elephant population shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to just over 43,000 in 2014 (according to a 2015 census), with nature conservation groups blaming "industrialized poaching".
Demand for ivory from Asia Countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand, where jewelry and jewelry are made from it, have led to poaching across Africa.
In March 2016, Tanzania sentenced two Chinese to ivory smuggling for 35 years in prison. In December, another court sentenced four Chinese to 20 years each after being convicted of smuggling rhinos.