Tanzania's most notorious elephant poacher, nicknamed "The Devil", has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Boniface Matthew Maliango, 47, was responsible for killing thousands of elephants, a conservation organisation said.

He was arrested in Dar es Salaam in September 2015 after a year-long manhunt.

His crimes were the focus of a Netflix documentary film, The Ivory Game, produced by actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Maliango's nickname, Shetani, means devil in Swahili.

The Elephant Action League, which fights wildlife crime, said Maliango ran as the head of 15 poaching syndicates an ivory trafficking network across five African countries: Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique and southern Kenya.

He was sentenced alongside his brothers, Lucas Mathayo Maliango and Abdallah Ally Chaoga.

The three were arrested in October 2015 while attempting to smuggle tusks worth more than $850,000.

Maliango was accused of supplying ivory to Chinese citizen Yang Fenglan, known as the "Ivory Queen", who is on trial in Tanzania for trafficking more than 700 elephant tusks worth $2.5m.

Yang, who is accused of leading one of Africa's biggest ivory smuggling rings, denies all charges. Her trial, set to begin in Dar es Salaam on 9 May, has been postponed for two weeks. If found guilty she faces up to 30 years in jail.

Tanzania's National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit tracked her for more than a year. She was arrested after a high-speed car chase in October 2015 and charged with ivory smuggling between 2000 and 2014.

Conservationists have said demand for ivory in China has fuelled poaching.

Although there is an international ban on buying and selling ivory across borders, it is allowed inside certain countries.

In December, China announced a ban on all ivory trade and processing activities by the end of 2017.

Poachers and ivory traffickers are threatening the very existence of elephants in Central and East Africa. Tanzania lost more than 60% of its elephants between 2009 and 2014.