Yeng Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese woman known to many as the Ivory Queen, and two Tanzanian men were taken into custody by Tanzanian officials on October 8th, 2015. She had returned to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from her home in Uganda which gave Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit or NTSCIU the chance to arrest her. It is believed that she has been in the Tanzanian Ivory Trade since 2006. A local paper reports that Yeng has been accused of stealing 706 elephant tusks, worth about $2.5 million, and she faces up to 30 years in prison. She is thought to be one of the most well-known traffickers of ivory to be caught so far and, overall, this is a victory for those who stand against the trading of ivory tusks, even if it’s a small one. Officials hope that her arrest will help to bring down other traffickers, including some government officials.
Though she has been a major contributor to the moving and sale of ivory, there is still much more work to be done to save the African Elephant. For years, they have been hunted and murdered for their tusks, only to be made into jewelry, chop sticks, and other trinkets. The ivory trade is one of the biggest reasons for the massive decline in the elephant population. Since 1800, when their numbers were estimated to be about 26 million, they have been hunted to the point of near extinction and were estimated to be only around 500,000 in 2007 according to National Geographic. In Tanzania alone, their numbers dropped by 60% between 2009 and 2014. This has all occurred even though the African Elephant was added to the Endangered Species list in 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and they were banned from the trade of elephant ivory in certain countries.
In 2014, the Obama Administration ordered to ban the commercial sale of ivory in the U.S., even destroying over a ton of elephant ivory in New York’s Time Square in June of this year to give warning to the traders. Though China has done a similar thing, the country is still believed to be the world’s top consumer of illegal ivory. In September of this year, China’s President, Xi Jinping, promised to work with the U.S. to force a complete ban on the ivory trade.
The white substance that makes
up the main part of an animal’s tusks.
|“taken into custody”
To be arrested and taken to jail
Small objects like jewelry
Someone who illegally takes things
from one place to another
| massive (n.)
|banned (to ban) (v.)
Officially or legally prohibited,
not allowed by law