Dubbed as the ‘Queen of Ivory,’ the Chinese businesswoman allegedly employed poachers in Tanzania for 14 years.
A Chinese woman accused of leading one of Africa’s biggest ivory-smuggling rings has been arrested and charged.
Yang Feng Glan was arrested early this week by a specialized task force in Tanzania that had closely monitored Ms. Glan for a year as she traveled between Beijing, Uganda, and Tanzania carrying out the illegal ivory trade, Tanzania’s daily news website The Citizen reports.
Ms. Yang, who is said to have been an important link between East African poachers and Chinese buyers, was charged on Wednesday alongside two Tanzanian accomplices.
“Most important trafficker ever busted,” the US-based Elephant Action League tweeted.
Tanzania is known as the epicenter of elephant poaching in Africa; the government recently estimated that 65,721 elephants have died in the country in the last five years. The number of Tanzanian elephants plummeted to 43,330 in 2014 from 110,000 in 2009. In 1961, at the time of Tanzania’s independence, the elephant population stood at 350,000.
In the whole of Africa, the elephant population was estimated at 1.3 million in 1979, but the number is now closer to 450,000, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
Investigators allege Yang smuggled and traded 706 elephant tusks weighing nearly 1.9 tons worth $2.5 million between 2000 and May 2014.
Local officials in Texas pointed to anti-police Black Lives Matter rhetoric after a white deputy was killed by a black man. But data offer a different picture.
The incident had the hallmarks of an execution. Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was filling up his patrol car at a suburban Houston gas station Friday when a man he had never met walked up behind him and opened fire, police say.
The suspect, Shannon Miles, is in custody but “we have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point,” said Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman.
In struggling with the overwhelming senselessness of the loss, Sheriff Hickman turned to what, for the nation at large, has become a familiar topic.
“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter,” he said at a press conference. “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”
The anti-police rhetoric surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement, he added, has ramped up “to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happens.”
In the aftermath of tragedy, it is perhaps an understandable sentiment. The comment came on the same day that a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Minnesota appeared to chant offensive anti-police slogans. And it echoed the comments of a police union official last December when two New York City police officers were ambushed and killed by someone who had participated in Black Lives Matter protests. There was “blood on the hands” of the mayor for standing with protesters, not cops, police union chief Pat Lynch said at the time.
Beneath such comments is the implication that the fallout from last year’s protests in Ferguson, Mo., has made police beats more deadly. But are vigilante attacks against police on the rise post-Ferguson?
So far, data don’t dismiss the idea, but nor do they show strong evidence supporting it. Though there was a jump in the number of police killed in so-called ambush attacks last year, it was within recent norms. And while the numbers for police killed in ambushes this year are not available, the overall number of police killed by guns is down and near historic lows.