A Chinese businesswoman Yang Feng Glan famously referred to many as the “Ivory Queen” has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian judge for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants.


Yang Feng Glan being escorted by the police

Glan who had been charged along with two Tanzanian men with smuggling about 860 pieces of ivory was sentenced in Tanzania.

Kisutu Court Magistrate Huruma Shaidi on Tuesday handed the trio 15-year sentences following their convictions of leading an organized criminal gang. All three had denied the charges.

Shaidi also ordered them to either pay twice the market value of the elephant tusks or face another two years in prison.

Conservationists welcomed Yang’s conviction, saying it was proof of the government’s seriousness in the fight against wildlife poaching, but some criticized the sentence.

Conservationists have however reacted differently to Yang’s sentence. According to Amani Ngusaru, WWF country director “It is not punishment enough for the atrocities she committed by being responsible for the poaching of thousands of elephants in Tanzania,”

In the last decade alone, Africa has lost about 110,000 elephants, with an estimated 415,000 elephants still living on the continent, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.