Elephant Action League

“The Devil”, most wanted ivory trafficker in Tanzania, arrested



“Shetani,” Tanzania’s Most Wanted Elephant Poacher and Ivory Trafficker, Arrested by Elite Task Force

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, October 29, 2015. The law enforcement body responsible for the arrest of the “Queen of Ivory” earlier this month has officially arrested notorious elephant poacher Boniface Matthew Mariango, referred to by law enforcement officials as “Shetani” or “The Devil,” after a manhunt that lasted for over one year.

“Shetani” was arrested by the National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU) Task Force on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is Tanzania’s “Most Wanted” elephant poacher and ivory trafficker and directly responsible for the killing of thousands of elephants over the past years.

Considered by NTSCIU to be the most prolific elephant poacher and ivory trafficker in East Africa, Mariango, 45, has managed over 15 poaching syndicates that have been operating throughout Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and southern Kenya with impunity for years.

“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,” commented Mr. Andrea Crosta, co-founder of the Elephant Action League and the WildLeaks initiative, a U.S. based organization that conducts intelligence and investigative activities on wildlife crime in various countries around the world. “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.”

A senior government official describes the arrest as a major breakthrough in the fight against poaching syndicates in his country: “After the arrest of the “Ivory Queen”, “Shetani” became enemy number one. 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.”

He continues, “And he is the ringleader of a poaching network directly supplying the “Queen of Ivory” (Yang Fenglan), who was arrested earlier this month, with elephant tusks from all across our nation. 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.”

“After these high profile arrests in Tanzania and the commitment to ban ivory by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping in their respective countries, I can finally say that there is hope for the elephants,” concludes Crosta. “Let’s keep fighting”.

The NTSCIU elephant protection project is financed by David Bonderman’s Wildcat Foundation through the PAMS Foundation in Tanzania. PAMS Foundation’s local partners are Askari Maritime Logistics and Team Rokka.

The arrest of “Shetani” as well as the arrest of “The Ivory Queen” has been captured by an undercover documentary film crew, which has been embedded with the Task Force for many months now. The film is currently in production and slated for completion in 2016. According to the two directors of the film whose identities must remain anonymous for security reasons, the feature length cinema documentary “IVORY”, produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios and Microsoft Co-Founder Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions, will reveal the fight against poachers and traffickers across Africa and Asia like no other before.

The filmmakers state, “To be embedded with the TASK force on the frontlines of this multifaceted war against wildlife crime, was the most dangerous and challenging mission of our lives. But this fight goes way beyond Tanzania. With this film, we will be able to reveal real incriminating evidence against traffickers across the entire supply chain, including direct links between ‘The Queen of Ivory,” “Shetani” and networks of international traffickers across Asia and China. “IVORY” will show the faces of the true heroes, risking their lives in the shadows to help save the elephants from extinction.”

*** END ***

In the picture, “Shetani” behind bars in Tanzania (Credit: Terra Mater Factual Studios) Shetani behind bars in Tanzania - Credit- Terra Mater Factual Studios 2




To contact Mr. Andrea Crosta, co-founder of Elephant Action League and WildLeaks:

Elephant Action League (EAL) is a US-based, independent, non-profit organization with the stated mission to fight wildlife crime through concrete, innovative and collaborative projects. EAL merges the wildlife protection and conservation fields with security, intelligence and technology expertise. EAL’s teams are currently conducting undercover investigations in a few African and Asian countries.




WildLeaks is the world’s first wildlife crime whistleblower initiative. It’s a collaborative project created & funded by the Elephant Action League (EAL) and managed directly by EAL’s co-founder Mr. Andrea Crosta, in collaboration with a small group of very experienced individuals, including environmental lawyers, accredited journalists, security professionals, cyber security experts and former law enforcement officers.

The Mission of WildLeaks is to receive and evaluate anonymous information and tips regarding wildlife and forest crimes and transform them into actionable items.



48 Responses

  1. Abby Lemonade

    Thanks God….I hope the officials in the animal welfare organizations can keep up the great work; I know they do not have a lot of money to investigate these POS. Poaching is a way of life and an income for many families there. But what happens when they’ve killed all the elephants? The citizens and the poachers are equally to blame.

  2. eileen

    Thanks so much for the hard, dangerous, and I bet, frustrating work you do for the elephants. Last week you arrested the queen of ivory, and now you got the man called the devil. From what I have read these are 2 people who are responsible for many of the elephant killings. So please keep up the pressure and continue your work for the elephants. You all have many fans all.over the world

  3. MonicaEllingsen

    I am so gratefulTo the team That captured the Ivy queenAnd the devil The poacher. These evil people I don’t really even want to call them people Because they’re notSo ever. My heart goes out to the elephants And to all wildlifeThat participated in this capture May God bless you all that have done good for our wildlife and are beautiful animalsI am so grateful Thank you very much My heart goes out to all that are good people that help stop these monsters from killing are beautiful animals

  4. Dee Buckle

    Terrific news to hear this person is now bwhind bars. Make sure he does not get bailed out. At last our appeals and fighting for the African Elephants is getting somewhere. Long may it continue.

  5. Pamela Van Effrink

    I think they mispelled his name the i should be the 3rd letter and as for The “gueen ” of ivory she doesn’t deserve such a noble title she is nothing but scum

  6. not only does his name contain ‘satan’ it contains ‘shit’ as well, an entity now put behind bars for hopefully the rest of its sorry life; perhaps now the elephants can look forward to peace on earth.

  7. Maliyatabu ibrahimu

    Nice work! But still his network ar in our forest,so make sure all his network ar arested and who are behind them.Am want to join you in this fighting,what i know will serve to contine in this fighting.

  8. Brandt McCall

    Fantastic news, and excellent work to all the law enforcement officer whom caught this man, he warrants a life in prison term. I have no revengeful thoughts, as for someone to do something so horrific clearly would have had a very traumatic childhood. However he must be held accountable, nor in his state of mind he is not safe to be out about in the world, bless all the animals he directly and indirectly simply slaughtered, often leaving orphans behind.

    I am holding the vision that all animals in the world including Africa are safe and respected by all of humanity. Yes everyone I am vegan too, as I love pigs, cows, chickens too! All the best to everyone, love and joy.

  9. Reading WILDLEAKS story has brought tears to me, I really hope that something wicked occurs to Shetani and that it is torture for him. Well Done to ALL of the people who are trying to halt this Global problem. It should be Worldwide breaking News yet it is only on specific website’s why? With both America and China banning Ivory Worldwide lets hope this is the catalyst needed.

    1. julius milla mollel.

      I am happy to hear this good news, but my question is, is this Devil alone, or there’s a team of Devil behind him?let him be tourcherd as the way he’s been touchering the Elephants and he can mention more Devils behind him.Good job done.

  10. Good! I’m glad he was caught. To hunt animals for sport, profit or just to kill them is as evil as one can get. I believe that anyone who commites such an atrocity should be hunted themselves.
    I believe in hunting only for food, clothing and using any remains to make tools; only taking what I need and nothing more. I respect Nature in the highest degree. For Nature provides us with all the necessity’s/necessites to exist. She is a gift that was loaned to us by The Great Spirit. And we are being tested to prove our worth and integrity, as to how we treat our Mother Nature and to show gratitude towards our Creator.

  11. 😀 I love nature from the bottom of my heart. I love tree frogs, I love butterflies, I love chameleons, trees, herbs, moss and fern plant, do not forget (Loxodonta africano) african elephant! This man poaching them!!

  12. Paul Rupia

    I hope he rots in jail and also name all the “big shots” who helped him in his barbaric acts. I’m very sure he was helped by some government influence.

  13. BarbaraMc

    It’s sad that he will be kept in jail, fed, and treated humanely, he doesn’t deserve that. Hope he doesn’t get time off in return for providing details of the network and people involved, he doesn’t deserve that either. Hope he goes down for a LONG time.

  14. Wendy

    Are you also doing work in Zimbabwe? 60+ elephants killed by cyanide poisoning in Hwange National Park this week. Tusks hacked off.

  15. Gail Willard

    If they cannot treat him the way he treated the elephants then lock in the worst prison they have for the rest of his misetable life -no parole!

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  18. Cherry Howell

    This is such great news!! I just hope they can keep in in prison for the rest of his life. He really doesn’t even deserve to live after all the elephants he is responsible for killing.

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We are former intelligence, law enforcement and security professionals.
We protect Wildlife and our Planet with intelligence-gathering operations and by investigating and exposing wildlife criminals worldwide, including poachers, traffickers, businessmen and corrupt government officials.

Elephant Action League is a hybrid non-profit organization that merges the worlds of intelligence, investigation and conservation in service of wildlife and the people who protect it.