Today, on World Cheetah Day, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs is pleased to announce the 2018 Zoohackathon global winner, Team Yamakapi. The runners-up were Team CheeTrack and Team Zoocchini.
At this year’s Zoohackathon, over 275 university students, software professionals, and wildlife enthusiasts created unique technology solutions to combat wildlife trafficking challenges in a period of less than 48 hours. Weekend events took place in Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Mumbai, New Delhi, Entebbe, and San Diego. Teams chose from a set of problem statements provided by experts fighting against wildlife trafficking in the field.
Zoohackathon supports U.S. efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking, raises public awareness among new and diverse audiences, and empowers participants to become part of the solution.
Team Yamakapi, participants of Zoohackathon San Diego, developed “Conscious Consumer,” a Google Chrome browser extension that educates online shoppers about product sustainability through sensitive key terms related to conservation. Consumers receive a notification alerting them if a product they are attempting to buy contains certain key terms, illegal wildlife parts, or is unsustainable. The browser extension aims to help change consumer purchasing behavior, reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, and prevent the extinction of wildlife species.
Team CheeTrack, from Zoohackathon Entebbe, created an online solution that identifies and tracks cheetahs in captivity using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Team Zoocchini, from Zoohackathon New Delhi, developed “Claw Net,” a web tool and interactive platform that identifies web searches through “code words” commonly used to refer to illegal wildlife items. ClawNet also contains a map of trade routes for law enforcement, illustrating which buyers and sellers respond to the identified web searches.
For more information about Zoohackathon, visit www.zoohackathon.com or contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov. Follow Zoohackathon on social media at @StateDeptOES and #Zoohackathon.