Announcing the Zoohackathon 2016 Finalists and Winner
At the seventh meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine A. Novelli announced the Zoohackathon global winner: WildTrack, a software program that expands the capabilities of an existing high-tech tool called the SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) to low-tech areas.
In October, the U.S. Department of State hosted the first-of-its-kind Zoohackathon at zoos and conservation centers in San Diego, Seattle, Sydney, London, and Washington, D.C. More than 200 coders, programmers, designers, and conservation technologists at these sites simultaneously took part in designing more than 30 solutions to problem statements submitted from conservation experts around the world. The Zoohackathon events reached a wide social media audience, with more than 2.3 million Twitter impressions and tens of thousands of Facebook views.
Created at Zoohackathon-San Diego, WildTrack allows park rangers and citizens to anonymously report poaching incidents via SMS technology to the SMART system, which is used in over 200+ protected areas around the world. WildTrack’s solution will receive funding from official Zoohackathon partner organizations to develop the product for market. Other finalists proposed solutions to help tourists avoid inadvertently purchasing illegal products while traveling abroad and an online forum to help palm oil farmers obtain responsible growing certifications, as palm oil-driven habitat alteration is a leading factor in creating new poaching corridors. Some of these solutions will also be developed for market use in 2017.
As called for by the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, the Zoohackathon program promotes understanding of the scope of wildlife trafficking, brings new partners to combat it by developing practical and innovative conservation technology, and highlights international cooperation.
For media inquiries, please contact Esther Bell at BellEF@state.gov.