A conservation charity, Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF), has confirmed the news about the death of a British helicopter pilot, Roger Gower, after being shot dead by elephant poachers in Tanzania. According to the charity, the pilot was helping authorities track the criminals in Tanzania when they fired on his aircraft. They added that he was able 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.
Several pictures published from the incident show the badly damaged remains of the helicopter and a bloodied bullet hole in the pilot’s seat of the aircraft. In a message posted on the website of the charity, FCF founder Dan Friedkin stated that the organisation was “profoundly saddened by the loss of our dear friend.” He stated that “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. In the course of this action the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded.”
Furthermore, Mr. Friedkin pointed out that “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,” adding that “this tragic event again highlights the appalling risk and cost of protecting Tanzania’s wildlife.”
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