Moreno is the main antagonist of Zarafa.
Moreno is a sadistic and conniving slave trader who forces Maki, a young Sudanese boy, and his girlfriend, Soula, into hard labor. In the beginning of the film, it is revealed that he had burned down their villages before kidnapping them. After Maki escapes from his clutches to find his father, Moreno sends his dog Amrok to capture him. Amrok manages to track down the boy, but Maki escapes.
The next day, Maki makes friends with a baby giraffe and its mother. After chasing the boy, Moreno finds him and tells him to come over. The mother giraffe steps in to protect Maki. In a fit of rage, Moreno pulls his gun and shoots the giraffe, killing her. He steps in to seize Maki but Hassan, a Bedouin nomad, interferes and saves him. In turn, Moreno vows that he will return.
Later, Maki discovers Soula being held prisoner by Moreno. Moreno turns his attention on Maki when Amrok barks, and as he does, Soula hits him over the head with a palm leaf. Before Moreno can beat her with his whip, Maki cries out for Soula and Hassan saves him once again. Maki and Hassan meet up with Malaterre, a baloon seller, who helps them bring Zarafa, the giraffe, to France to convince King Charles to help them fend off the invading Turks. Maki also notices Moreno making deals with tomb robbers and selling Soula.
Moreno and his thugs arrive at the wharf with Soula bound and gagged. They capture Hassan and he forces him to reveal Maki's whereabouts, but the pirate queen Bouboulina and her ragtag crew jump into action and drive them back, but not before Moreno vows revenge. Maki and his friends finally make it to a zoo in Paris. King Charles accepts the gift but refuses to help.
Moreno catches up with Maki and kidnaps him, taking him into his home. Maki is separated from Soula as the slaver attempts to break his spirit, forcing him to take care of his two children and clean the floor. Moreno receives a beating from his wife after making the mistake of hitting her with a flyswatter to drive off flies.
Maki finds Soula and as they escape from Moreno, he sics Amrok on them. The children escape and make it to the city zoo, where Maki realizes that he must let Zarafa go and reunite with Soula.
Moreno finally finds Maki and prepares to strike him when Hassan steps in and slices his weapon. The evil slaver gives up, but as soon as Hassan takes Maki to Malaterre's hot air balloon, Moreno shoots him in the arm. Maki and Soula jump into the balloon as Zarafa grabs the slaver by the shirt. Moreno rushes after the kids and catches onto the balloon's basket in a final attempt to capture them by pulling down their weight. Our hero and heroine bite down on his fingers and he falls into a polar bear's enclosure. Moreno begs for Amrok to get help, but, terrified, the dog shakes his head. The bear's ferocious roars drown out Moreno's screaming as he is mauled and/or devoured by the animal offscreen.
Moreno is a manipulative, conniving, brutal, and sinister man who shows no mercy to his slaves and also to our heroes, Maki and Soula. Even when his plans fail, he doesn't give up until he reaches his goals. Moreno may be cruel, heartless, and sympathetic, but he seems very compassionate and kind to his children, and is afraid to step on his wife's toes. He does what he does throughout the film because it's his job.
- Moreno's name means "the dark one" in Latin and Spanish.