British helicopter pilot shot dead by elephant poachers in Tanzania

Three people have been arrested over the shooting of a British helicopter pilot by elephant poachers in Tanzania.

The men were held by police in the East African country on Sunday over the murder of Roger Gower, the Agence France Presse (AFP) agency reported.

Mr Gower, 37, was helping authorities in Tanzania track the criminals when they fired on his aircraft on Friday, the Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF) said.

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He managed to bring the helicopter down in the Maswa Game Reserve, near Serengeti National Park in the country’s north, but died from his wounds before he could be rescued.


In a message posted on its website, FCF 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 co-ordinated effort with the Tanzanian wildlife authorities to track down and arrest active elephant poachers.

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“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.

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“This tragic event again highlights the appalling risk and cost of protecting Tanzania’s wildlife.”


Tanzania is fighting a bitter struggle to stop ivory poachers, a report last year saying 60% of its elephant population had been lost in the previous five years.

China is the world’s largest market for illegal ivory, which has been thriving under the cover of legal ivory sales