Fight against poaching relies on aerial support
The violent death of the British pilot Roger Gower leaves FZS with great sorrow. Gower was investigating the killing of elephants.
2 February 2016, Seronera - The violent death of the British pilot Roger Gower leaves the Frankfurt Zoological Society with great sorrow. Gower was shot in his helicopter last Friday while tracking poachers in the Maswa Game Reserve bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Roger Gower was investigating the killing of elephants in the Maswa Game Reserve when the poachers opened fire on his helicopter.
At nearly the same time of the tragic incidence in the Maswa game reserve, an FZS Husky aircraft was in the air, detecting a poaching camp near the centre of Serengeti National Park. The FZS pilot was able to indicate the position of the poacher’s camp to TANAPA ranger patrols on the ground who then arrested the poachers.
Aerial support is essential for the management and surveillance of the large and often remote protected areas in Africa. However, the pilots, just like the armed ranger patrols on the ground, are in constant danger of direct attack from poachers, some of which are heavily armed with automatic rifles.
Roger Gower’s death is a grievous loss to the conservation community and testimony to the fierceness and violence of the fight against poaching. He is dearly remembered by his colleagues of the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Africa Team. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.