As if it were straight out of a bad movie that escapes any semblance of believability, notorious Tanzanian poacher, Boniface Methew Malyango, aka “The Devil” was acquitted on Wednesday of illegal possession of elephant tusks, as well as other charges.
The unjust news, which was released by numerous outlets including the Washington Post, is especially shocking considering several of his associates were sentenced to significantly long prison terms.
The only saving grace is that Malyango, who was profiled in DiCaprio’s 2016 Netflix documentary, The Ivory Game, is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for a March conviction that stemmed from organized crime linked to wildlife trafficking.
Malyango, along with his two brothers, were charged following the arrest of the trio in October 2015 while they were attempting to smuggle 118 tusks worth more than $863,000.
Co-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, The Ivory Game followed a 16-month undercover operation during which the filmmakers infiltrated and documented the deep-rooted corruption at the heart of the global ivory trafficking crisis.
The fact that if convicted Malyango would have faced even more years in prison was also addressed in the documentary.
On a positive note, China, the world’s largest ivory consumer, is currently in the process of shutting down the ivory trade with the goal of ending it completely before 2018; in a necessary effort to protect the remaining African elephants from extinction in the wild.
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