JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A total of five people have been arrested for the shooting death of a British pilot who was flying a helicopter on an anti-poaching mission in Tanzania, a conservation group said.
More arrests are expected following the killing of Roger Gower, who was on a joint operation with Tanzanian wildlife authorities when he was shot, the Friedkin Conservation Fund said Friday.
Those detained include the suspected gunman and accomplices, as well as “members of a criminal network providing illegal firearms and facilitating the transport and sale of ivory,” the Texas-based Friedkin group said in a statement.
Two days after Gower’s death, the group announced three arrests in an ongoing security operation.
Gower died Jan. 29 in Maswa wildlife reserve, near Serengeti National Park. The Friedkin group oversees conservation projects in Maswa and some other wildlife areas in Tanzania. Maswa’s rangers encounter poachers on a regular basis, according to the Friedkin group.
Tanzania has been identified as a key hotspot for elephant poachers. The elephant population declined by 60 percent to about 40,000 since 2009, according to a census announced last year.
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CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press
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