Prince William Heads To Microsoft Headquarters To Discuss How To Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

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By Becca Longmire.

Prince William had an important outing in Reading, U.K. on Thursday.

The Duke of Cambridge, founder of The Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife, visited Microsoft HQ to learn how a new state of the art AI scanning technology could increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports.

William was seen on camera smiling as he met team members to discuss how Microsoft’s AI research project, SEEKER, proved its ability to detect illegal wildlife items concealed in baggage and cargo.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge looks for ivory hidden in a suitcase on a scan to learn how new AI scanning technology can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports. (Photo by Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge looks for ivory hidden in a suitcase on a scan to learn how new AI scanning technology can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports. (Photo by Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge learns how new AI scanning technology can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports. (Photo by Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge learns how new AI scanning technology can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports. (Photo by Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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A press released pointed out that the illegal wildlife trade is among the five most lucrative global crimes and is often run by highly organized criminal networks.

The royal followed poaching cases from end to end during his visit to show how United for Wildlife partners were able to disrupt the criminal network at each stage.

He heard from Rangers at the Southern Africa Wildlife College about the latest situation on the ground there, where nearly 400 rhinos are poached each year, as well as from U.K. Border Force officials about how criminals aimed to exploit the transport network to move their product around the globe.

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Plus, his Royal Highness heard from United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce partners and the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force regarding how seizures at airports are just the start of a complex financial investigation.

Experts can follow the money trail to identify the criminals at the top of the pyramid and prosecute under anti-money laundering legislation, which often has more severe penalties than wildlife crime regulation.

William’s royal engagement came before he and Kate Middleton dressed to impress at the Royal Variety performance in London.

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