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 can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports, and help to disrupt this criminal trade.
Following a recent trial at London Heathrow, Microsoft’s AI research project, SEEKER, proved its ability to detect illegal wildlife items concealed in baggage and cargo.
The Duke learned about the potential of this technology as part of his work with The Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade is among the five most lucrative global crimes and is often run by highly organised criminal networks. United for Wildlife aims to make it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance or profit from illegal wildlife products.
During the visit, The Duke followed a poaching case from end to end to discover how United for Wildlife partners are helping to disrupt this criminal network at each stage. From rangers at the Southern Africa Wildlife College, through UK Border Force officials at the frontline of efforts to intercept illegal wildlife products, and on to United for Wildlife Financial Taskforce partners working on complex financial investigations after products have been found.
United for Wildlife was founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014 with the aim to leave our planet in a stronger position for the next generation by protecting endangered species and their habitats from the Illegal Wildlife Trade.