In this episode, I’m talking with Nick Ahlers. Over the last 20 years, Nick has managed a wide variety of sustainable development projects across Southern Africa. He joined TRAFFIC nearly 10 years ago and has held many positions there along with his most recent promotion to Director of Development. TRAFFIC’s mission is to ensure that the trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. Its evidence-based approaches provide guidance and tailored technical expertise to a range of stakeholders across governments, specialized law enforcement, donors, policymakers, private sector companies, academia and beyond. Nick is based in South Africa and holds degrees in International Development Studies, Environmental Studies, African Studies with a focus on Medical Anthropology, and a MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics.
In this conversation, we dig into Nick’s early curiosity and passion for the environment, his path into conservation which took him from Maine to South Africa, and how his career brought him to TRAFFIC. We dive into TRAFFIC as an organization and the work being done there. We go deep into the rhino horn trade and talk through the ramifications of legalizing it. We also talk about findings from prisoner interviews in relation to illegal wildlife trade. Nick has a wonderful ability to turn data and research into understandable concepts.