Tanzanian law enforcement authorities have arrested a notorious elephant poacher and trader in illegal ivory following a manhunt that lasted more than a year, according to NGO Elephant Action League (EAL).
EAL disclosed that The National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) arrested 45-year-old Boniface Matthew Mariango, nicknamed The Devil or Shetani (in Kiswahili).
“This arrest is yet another substantial breakthrough in Tanzania’s anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts, with implications also reaching into neighbouring countries,” said Andrea Crosta, co-founder of the Elephant Action League and the WildLeaks initiative, a US based organisation that investigates wildlife crime around the world.
Tanzania lost around 85,000 elephants to poaching between 2009 and 2014, a recent elephant census in the country shows. The mammals are killed for their tusks, to satisfy the demand for ivory in Asia.
“After these high profile arrests in Tanzania and the commitment to ban ivory by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in their respective countries, I can finally say that there is hope for the elephants,” said Crosta. “We congratulate the NTSCIU for their many recent successes. This task force, and its men and women, represent real hope for elephants and for Tanzania.”
NTSCIU had also, earlier in the month, arrested the notorious Queen of Ivory Yang Feng Glan.