31 January 2017

Tanzania: Slain UK Pilot's Family to Build School in Tanzania

Photo: The Citizen
Helicopter pilot Roger Gower (right) died after he was shot by poachers while trying to track them down.

Dar es Salaam — The family of a British pilot who was shot dead by poachers in Serengeti early last year is planning to raise £1 million (Sh2.7 billion) to build a new secondary school in Manyara Region.

The pilot, Roger Gower, 37, who was tracking poachers, who had killed three elephants near the Serengeti National Park, died after the pochers opened fire on 29 January last year.

Roger's family have marked the one-year anniversary of his death by launching a charity, called 'Born to Fly', aimed at promoting education and conservation in Africa to help curb elephant poaching across the continent.

A memorial fund that was set up after the pilot's death raised £250,000 (Sh675,000), which is being put towards building basic amenities, including the only toilets for a school of 200 pupils in Kipsing, Kenya.

The family now hope to raise close to Sh2.7 billion to build a new secondary school in Tanzania, according to The Guardian.

Mr Roger's brother, Max Gower, was quoted by the British newspaper this week as saying: "We were left with a big void and feeling of senselessness when Roger died. It was just a pointless death, it didn't achieve anything, so we wanted to try and get some good to come out of that."

The 43-year-old said the work would "make Roger proud" because he was passionate about conservation and educating underprivileged children.

"It's been a terrific focus for all of us, even my parents who were a bit reticent about committing to anything in the first place," he said.

Scores of people were arrested as the government conducted operation following the killing of the pilot.

The killed pilot worked for the Friedkin Conservation Fund which has had operations in Tanzania for several years now.

According to World Animal Protection (WAP) 53 rangers had died while trying to protect animals in 2015 in areas under serious poaching threat.

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