British Helicopter Pilot Killed by Poachers in Tanzania

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A British helicopter pilot has been shot dead by Tanzanian poachers, according to the charity he was working for.

Roger Gower was tracking elephant poachers in the East African nation as part of his work with The Friedkin Conservation Fund. The organisation says his aircraft was fired upon, fatally wounding the pilot, as he flew near one of the carcases killed by the elephant poachers.

 

‘A great pilot’

Pratik Patel of the Friedkin Conservation Fund paid tribute to Mr Gower, describing him as ” a great guy, a great friend, a great pilot”. Despite his wounds, Gower was able to land his helicopter, but died before he could be rescued. The poachers responsible for his death remain at large, although an investigation is underway.

The former accountant is said to have loved Tanzania’s wildlife and his work has been praised by many, including Tanzanian MP Lazaro Nyalandu.

 

“RIP Capt Roger,” the MP tweeted on Friday. “You loved our country and I knew you on many flights we took together in defence of our wildlife heritage. Life is precious,” he said.

 

Manhunt underway

News of Gower’s death has angered the conservationist community. Wildlife at Risk International (WAR) revealed several organisations are working with authorities to help bring the poachers to justice.

“A huge manhunt is underway involving several organisations assisting authorities to track down this cold-blooded murderer,” WAR posted on its Facebook page yesterday. “For security reasons no further details are being released for now due to the ongoing investigation.

Dan Friedkin, founder of The Friedkin Conservation Fund, reinforced demands the poachers be tracked down. He said: “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.”