Tanzania has sentenced two Chinese men to 35 years in prison each for their part in ivory smuggling.
53-year-old Huang Gin and 25-year-old Xu Fujie were arrested at a house in Dar es Salaam in 2013 and were found in possession of 706 pieces of elephant tusk and have been in custody since.
The pair were sentenced at Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court on March 19.
According to magistrate Cyprian Mkeha, the pair are responsible for the deaths of some 226 elephants.
Shanghaiist says that following the pair’s arrest, Xu and Huang tried to protest their innocence claiming that they had nothing to do with ivory smuggling and were storing the ivory for their friends.
Poaching has been on the rise in recent years especially in sub-Saharan Africa where criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks which are then often shipped to Asia for use in medicines.
In Tanzania, the elephant population shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to around 43,000 in 2014, according to a census released in June of that year.
In October last year, Tanzania charged Chinese businesswoman Yang Feng Glan, often referred to as ‘Ivory Queen’ with running a network that smuggled out tusks from 350 elephants.
She is currently awaiting trial.
While in December, a court in Tanzania sentenced four Chinese men to 20 years in jail each after they were convicted of smuggling rhino horns.