China has backed a 15-year jail time period handed to a Chinese language lady often called the “ivory queen”, who was convicted of smuggling round 700 elephant tusks.
Yang Fenglan, a Chinese language businesswoman, was accused of working one among Africa’s largest ivory-smuggling rings, accountable for smuggling £1.9m ($2.5m) price of tusks from some 400 elephants from Tanzania to the Far East.
A court docket within the Tanzanian metropolis of Dar es Salaam sentenced her, together with two Tanzanian males charged with being her accomplices, to 15 years in jail.
Ms Fenglan, 69, who started smuggling ivory in 2006, was arrested in 2015 following a high-speed automobile chase. She had been beneath investigation for greater than a 12 months.
A outstanding businesswoman, she labored in Tanzania as a translator and later returned to the nation the place she ran a Chinese language restaurant in addition to an funding firm in Dar es Salaam.
The unlawful commerce in ivory is fuelled by demand from China and east Asia, the place it’s used to make jewelry and ornaments.
Ms Fenglan’s case was seen as a serious check of Africa’s efforts to clamp down on the mass killing of elephants and maintain key traffickers accountable.
China has cracked down on smuggling in recent times and a complete ban on all commerce in ivory merchandise got here into impact final 12 months, though it doesn’t embrace Hong Kong.
The variety of African elephants is claimed to have declined by 20% within the final decade, largely resulting from poaching for ivory.
The Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates there are round 415,000 left.
In Tanzania, the elephant inhabitants declined by 60% to 43,000 between 2009 and 2014, the federal government mentioned.