British pilot killed by elephant poachers in Tanzaniahttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/british-pilot-killed-by-elephant-poachers-tanzania
Foreign Office confirms death of Roger Gower, who was fatally wounded when poachers shot at his aircraft as he helped authorities track them
Saturday 30 January 2016 21.38 GMT
A British helicopter pilot has been fatally shot by elephant poachers in Tanzania, a conservation charity has said.
Roger Gower was helping authorities in Tanzania track the criminals when they fired on his aircraft on Friday, the Friedkin Conservation Fund said.
In a message posted on its website, founder Dan Friedkin said the organisation was “profoundly saddened by the loss of our dear friend”.
He said: “Roger was killed while piloting a helicopter during a coordinated effort with the Tanzanian wildlife authorities to track down and arrest active elephant poachers. In the course of this action the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded.
“We are committed to honouring Roger and his work. We are also committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack are found and brought to justice. We believe that Roger can best be honoured by redoubling our commitment to protect elephants and our priceless wildlife heritage.
“This tragic event again highlights the appalling risk and cost of protecting Tanzania’s wildlife.”
Gower was reported to be a former accountant who qualified as a pilot in 2004.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Tanzania and are providing assistance to the family at this difficult time.”
Tanzanian MP Lazaro Nyalandu, a former minister for natural resources and tourism, said in a tweet that Gower was shot by a poacher on Friday as he helped locate a group who had killed an elephant in Maswa, an area of the Serengeti in the country’s north.
The pilot managed to land but died before he could be rescued, Nyalandu said.
“RIP Capt Roger. You loved our country and I knew you on many flights we took together in defence of our wildlife heritage. Life is precious.
“Those poachers who killed Capt Roger are coward(sic), evil, and sad people. A fine-hearted individual gone too soon, and our hearts are broken.
“Capt Roger’s body was flown into Arusha early today, as those who killed him are still at large. Everything must (be) done to bring them to justice.”
Pratik Patel, a colleague from the Friedkin Conservation Fund, said Gower was shot on Friday afternoon during a patrol as he approached the last carcass of three elephants that had been killed by poachers.
He paid tribute to “a great guy, a great friend, a great pilot” who he said loved working with Tanzania’s wildlife.
He said his main role was flying people between the different camps on the reserve, but he also spent time every day flying patrols to support ground staff in their work against poachers.