The poaching crisis

Illegal wildlife trade

Without a solution to the poaching crisis, the death of conservationists will continue

Ben Fogle

The murder of helicopter pilot Roger Gower while protecting Tanzania’s wildlife is the latest example of those on the frontline in the war against illegal ivory being outnumbered and outgunned


Elephants in Serengeti national park. Tanzania lost 60% of its elephants in five years. Photograph: Gary Roberts Photography/REX Shutterstock

The death of Roger Gower, shot through his helicopter by AK47 while protecting Tanzania’s game reserves from poachers, is the culmination of a worrying trend in the east African nation that has seen its wildlife populations plummet in recent years.

In 2014 a helicopter donated to the Tanzanian government to help the anti-poaching operations crashed, killing four. In December last year, Tanzania National Parks’ head of anti-poaching Emily Kisamo was murdered. Four have been charged, but there are still uncertainties as to the reasons for his killing, or the cause of the helicopter crash.