Once known as the world’s elephant killing fields, Tanzania appears to have halted the worst ivory poaching within its borders, making more than 2,300 arrests of poachers and traffickers over five years. Investigators say that by the beginning of 2020 they had identified and penetrated at least 11 organised wildlife trafficking syndicates and arrested 21 “kingpins” — the high level leaders and organisers of the illegal trade, who profit most from it. One of those, Yang Fenglan, a Chinese businesswoman known as the ‘Ivory Queen’, appealed her conviction at Tanzania’s High Court last month. Conservation groups, including the wildlife trade monitor TRAFFIC, said Tanzania previously suffered poaching on an “industrial scale”, leading to a 60% decline in its elephant population in just the five years between 2009 and 2014. The figures, from a government census, equate to a loss of more than 60,000 elephants. The IUCN categorises the African savanna elephant as Endangered. The government says thanks to the work of a National Taskforce on Anti-Poaching (NTAP), which unites the wildlife and security sectors to target criminal networks, less than a quarter the number of poaching incidents were reported in its National Parks in 2019 than five years earlier. A government report, seen by Mongabay, sets out the specifics of 2,377 arrests. Elephant populations in Tanzania have risen from 43,000 in 2014 to 60,000 in 2019, according to a presidential statement. More recent figures from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism state that the number of elephants in the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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