A wildlife poacher whose alleged slaughter of African elephants earned him the nickname “The Devil” has been captured by Tanzanian authorities.
CNN reports that Boniface Matthew Mariango, 45, was wanted by law enforcement for managing up to 15 criminal poaching and ivory-trafficking syndicates. Mariango evaded capture for over a year before finally being arrested by a task force on October 29 in the nation’s capital, Dar es Salaam.
Mariango was called the “the most prolific poacher and ivory trafficker in East Africa” by the wildlife advocate group Elephant Action League and was believed to be personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of elephants.
His bloody reputation gained him the moniker Shetani, or “The Devil.”
Mariango’s arrest follows the arrest of Yang Feng Glan on October 9th. The proclaimed “Queen of Ivory,” Glan is charges with smuggling 706 elephant tusks, and is believed to have worked with Mariango directly on several occassions.
Tanzania’s elephant population has been devastated by poaching over the past five years, dropping 60 percent between 2009 and 2014. Wildlife groups say the high-profile arrests are an encouraging sign that authorities in Tanzania, long accused of turning a blind eye to poaching, may finally be committed to pursuing high-level criminals and eliminating poaching syndicates from the top down.