Roger Gower, a British helicopter pilot has been shot down and killed by elephant poachers in Tanzania whilst flying over and investigating an elephant carcass.Roger Gower had been tracking poachers on Friday in the Maswa Game Reserve when they fired on his helicopter.The UK Foreign Office has confirmed the death of a UK national in Tanzania and said it was providing assistance to the family.Pratik Patel, of the Friedkin Conservation Fund, said Mr Gower had been approaching the last of three elephants killed by poachers when he was shot at. It is said that an AK47 round pierced the helicopter and hit Roger Gower causing him to crash land, however he died of his injuries before help could arrive.He paid tribute to "a great guy, a great friend, a great pilot" who he said had loved working with Tanzania's wildlife.It is said that Roger Gower's main job was to fly people between the different camps on the reserve where he worked at, but he also flew daily patrols to support rangers on the ground in their fight against poachers. Tanzanian MP Lazaro Nyalandu, a former minister for natural resources and tourism who knew Roger Gower tweeting the following:
Poachers shot and killed Capt Roger, a helicopter pilot who was on a mission to help Rangers find killers of an elephant at Maswa yesterday— Lazaro Nyalandu (@LazaroNyalandu) January 30, 2016
CaptRoger's body was flown into Arusha early today, as those who killed him are still at large.Everything must done to bring them to justice— Lazaro Nyalandu (@LazaroNyalandu) January 30, 2016
Mr. Friedkin 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— Lazaro Nyalandu (@LazaroNyalandu) January 30, 2016
"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."The Friedkin Fund says elephant poaching is "especially prevalent" in Maswa, with rangers encountering ivory poachers "on a fairly regular basis".