Boniface Matthew Maliango, nicknamed “The Devil”, was accused for killing thousands of elephants by the PAMS Foundation, which finances the government’s fight against poaching.
Maliango was considered as the east Africa’s biggest ivory trafficker and also lead a poaching network that supplied Chinese citizen Yang Fenlan known as the “Ivory Queen”, who is currently on trial in Tanzania for illegally trafficking 706 elephant tusks between 2000 and 2014.
The PAMS Foundation said the 47-year-old was believed to be at the head of 15 poaching syndicates operating throughout Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and southern Kenya.
He was sentenced alongside his brothers Lucas Mathayo Malyango and Abdallah Ally Chaoga.
The three were arrested in October 2015 while attempting to smuggle 118 tusks worth over $863,000.
In 1989, a ban on the international trade of ivory was introduced but governments and NGOs have struggled to bring an end to poaching.
More than 1,300 rhinoceroses were killed by poachers across Africa in 2015, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the highest number since 2008. The number of African elephants has also fallen by around 111,000 to 415,000 over the past decade.