We are all still reeling at OAT at the tragic news over the weekend of the senseless murder of British helicopter pilot and conservationist Roger Gower – shot out of the sky by elephant poachers in Tanzania.
According to the BBC “The Friedkin Conservation Fund said Roger Gower, from Birmingham, was tracking poachers on Friday in the Maswa Game Reserve.”
He was over the Maswa Game Reserve – apparently he was flying close to one of 3 dead elephants… also killed by the poachers. He had a passenger on board. The poachers shot at them from the ground with machine guns. He did manage to land, which gave his passenger a chance to escape, running and hiding from the poachers; but he died of his injuries before help could reach him. He was 37.
Of course tributes have been paid to Roger – “a great guy, a great friend, a great pilot”. He loved working with Tanzania’s wildlife. He loved flying.
We are all shocked by this murder. So brazen. Such a waste of life. OAT supports projects that work to protect elephants in Africa from these threats. We have funded the use of helicopters just like this. It brings home like a punch in the guts the appalling risk and cost of protecting Africa’s wildlife. There are no words to describe the sadness we all feel about this latest horror, or the anger.
Dan Friedkin, founder of The Friedkin Conservation Fund has said …
“We believe that Roger can best be honoured by redoubling our commitment to protect elephants and our priceless wildlife heritage.