WCS participated in the “Tencent for the Planet” Partnership Conference on December 19th, joining the Chinese tech giant and a cadre of conservation groups in a global effort to fight wildlife crime.

Tencent is one of the largest internet companies in the world, and is leading efforts to tackle cybercrime involving illegal wildlife trade through social responsibility.

At the meeting, Tencent signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) of the Government of China, committing to crack down on cyber wildlife crime, and launched a joint initiative with NFGA and WCS, WWF, TRAFFIC, IFAW, TNC, WildAid and Paradise Foundation to “together create a better connection between people and nature."

The conference also announced the establishment of the “Tencent for the Planet: Conservation Expert Advisory Group,” which now includes WCS China Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program Manager, Lishu Li. With the support from these top experts, Tencent for the Planet will be professionalized with knowledge of species identification, and its staff will be trained with wildlife law and regulations as well as how to efficiently and accurately collect and screen intelligence on cyber wildlife crime.

"Tencent hopes to better integrate its power and corporate culture into environmental protection by linking up with "people and nature" and to achieve the goals of connectivity, innovation and professionalism,” said XIE Hu, the Vice President of Tencent Holdings.

Speaking at the December 19th event, Sue Lieberman, WCS Vice President for International Policy said: “Collaboration between technology companies such as Tencent and NGOs with a global presence, such as WCS, is critical to solving the problems of wildlife trafficking—whether ivory, pangolins, rhino horn, or other species. The private sector is vital in promoting good governance, and the protection of the environment and wildlife; the private sector can also help change the public’s awareness of wildlife laws and regulations, and help ensure that people do not buy illegal wildlife products.”

Believing in “Technology for Social Good,” to support wildlife conservation, Tencent launched the “Tencent for the Planet” project in 2015, opening a hotline channel for their more than 1 billion monthly active users to take actions reporting information on illegal wildlife trade on Tencent’s platform.

In November, this project furthered upgraded, and merged with the “Tencent 110” mini program to allow users across all recent products to be prompted to report online illegal wildlife trade information, and the data will be screened by a "species identification knowledge database" built by the Conservation Expert Advisory Group, which will also further improve the accuracy and timely of feedback. Users can receive feedback from the system within 72 hours via WeChat, Tencent’s most popular social medial platform.