Marcus Hardtke graduated in environmental law before moving from his native Germany to Southeast Asia where he has earned a non-nonsense reputation when dealing with illegal trading in wildlife and timber more than 25 years ago.
He spoke with The Diplomat’s Luke Hunt about the realities of saving pristine wilderness areas from logging and how to trap traders of endangered species, like the pangolin, which Beijing has banned from use in traditional Chinese medicine.
His work encompasses governance and corruption around the region, including Cambodia where Hardtke has spent much of his time developing a rapport with locals and government officials, too often the flash-point for environmental issues.
In some respects he is optimistic about the future, but there are hurdles to get over first, which he says would be helped by enlisting human rights advocates into the fight to protect what remains of the region’s natural habitat.
Luke Hunt can be followed on Twitter @lukeanthonyhunt.