Tanzania’s most wanted elephant ivory trafficker sentenced to 12 years in prison

Posted on 03 March 2017

The number of ivory seizures worldwide averages 92 cases a month, or three per day.

© WWF / Folke Wulf

​Dodoma, Tanzania: One of Tanzania’s most notorious ivory traffickers was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in jail. Boniface Matthew Mariango, who has been referred to by law enforcement officials as “Shetani” or “The Devil,” was captured in November 2015 after a manhunt that lasted over one year.

He was accused of being linked to 15 poaching gangs in 5 countries and directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of elephants over the past years. When he was arrested he was found in possession of 118 tusks.

Amani Ngusaru, WWF-Tanzania Country Director, comments:

“WWF congratulates the Tanzanian authorities involved in Shetani’s arrest and successful prosecution. Poaching elephants for ivory is robbing Tanzania of its heritage. This prosecution sends out a strong message that Tanzania’s authorities are taking it seriously and are working to eliminate poaching in the country.”
 
The prosecution of illegal traffickers is a key part in protecting Tanzania’s wildlife and returning the elephant population back to the levels it was at before. President Magufuli has strongly supported action against poaching calling on federal security agencies to “arrest all those involved in this illicit trade.”
 
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s largest protected area, was home to one of the greatest concentrations of African elephants on the continent, but rampant ivory poaching has seen the population reduced by 90 per cent in fewer than 40 years. Nearly 110,000 elephants once roamed the savannahs, wetlands and forests of Selous, but now only about 15,000 remain in the ecosystem. 
 
This is the latest in a string of arrests and prosecutions against wildlife trafficking gangs in Tanzania. 

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