The U.S. Department of State’s first Zoohackathon will occur on October 7-9 at zoos and conservation centers in San Diego, Seattle, Sydney, London, and Washington, D.C.
The once-occasional link between wildlife trafficking and other transnational criminal networks of gun, drug, and human trafficking is now a superhighway driven by a demand for exotic pets, delicacies, jewelry, and traditional medicines all over the world.
(The Zoohackathon is a computer coding and technology intensive event that brings together developers, designers, project managers, and subject matter experts to create applications, systems, and tools to help reduce demand for trafficked wildlife products. Courtesy of Pradeep G and YouTube)
The goals of the Zoohackathon are to promote understanding of the scope of wildlife trafficking, develop demand reduction technology, and highlight international cooperation.
Zoohackathon, organized by the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, is a public-private partnership that brings together the United States government with the private sector and civil society.
The Zoohackathon builds on the State Department’s successful Fishackathon model, now in its third year.
The event calls on coders, designers, and science enthusiasts from all around the world to come together over a weekend to create new applications and tools to address issues on the demand side of wildlife trafficking.
Each Zoohackathon will kick off with an opening session, laying out problem statements, and then participants will have 24-48 hours to hack their way toward solutions to challenges solicited from conservation experts around the world.
At the end of the hackathons, teams will present their ideas, and a panel of judges will nominate a winner for each site.
After the Zoohackathon ends, a global panel of technology and conservation experts will review the winning solutions from each site and select top submissions for further development and even possible market deployment.