Known by many as “The Devil” for his direct involvement in the poaching of thousands of elephants over the course of the past three years, ill-famed ivory-trafficker Boniface Matthew Mariango has finally been apprehended by The National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) Task Force outside of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Co-founder of the Elephant Action League and Wildlife crime whistleblower Wildlinks, Andrea Costa, explained the importance of Mariango’s arrest,
“This arrest is yet another substantial breakthrough in Tanzania’s anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts, with implications also reaching into neighboring countries. Finally, we see big fish getting caught in the law enforcement net.”
In a press release for the Elephant Action League, a government official said,
“We have been hunting him since June of 2014. He has evaded arrest again and again, slipping away at least seven times, but this time we caught him, in a wild manhunt after informers reported his whereabouts in the outskirts of Dar.
The evidence we have against “Shetani” is crushing. He is the major supplier of weapons, ammunition and cars to poaching syndicates operating across the country and beyond..
But this fight is far from over. With both of them now in custody we will be able, for the first time, to truly crack down on the international networks involved in the illegal trafficking of ivory.”
Africa Geographic reports that an undercover documentary crew captured the entirety of Mariango’s arrest on film. The crew has been working with the NTSCIU for months, even documenting the capture of the ‘Ivory Queen.’ Footage from the arrests are part of a documentary project, IVORY (Terra Mater Factual Studios and Vulcan Studios), that is expected to be completed in 2016.
Tanzania’s most recent census reports a 60 percent population decrease in elephants from 2009 to 2014, with an average of 96 elephants being killed each day by poachers. Despite these findings, the African Elephant is still not recognized as an endangered species, though this fact has not deterred many in Africa from taking the decreasing population size seriously.
To help make a difference, please urge Congress to pass The Global Anti-Poaching Act. It is up to us to save the elephants.