Tanzanian authorities have launched a manhunt for poachers who shot down a helicopter and its British pilot.
The pilot, Roger Gower, was shot while approaching the carcass of one of three elephants killed by poachers.
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
Gower was on a mission, a collaboration between the Friedkin Conservation Fund and the Tanzanian government, which has struggled to respond to what conservation groups say has been an explosion of “industrial-scale” poaching in recent years.
The UK Foreign Office has confirmed Gower’s death and said it was providing assistance to the pilot’s family.
Gower has been described as a great lover of Tanzanian wildlife.
He is said to have flown people between camps and supported the ground staff in their work against poachers.
The tourism and natural resources ministry says 5 suspects have so far been arrested and that an operation is still underway to arrest the remaining suspects.
A consensus organised in June last year revealed that the elephant population in Tanzania has declined from 110,000 in 2009 to a little over 43,000 in 2014.