Security for Wildlife Trafficking: U.S. Embassy partners with India


Are there apps, and web systems that can assist with the complex global crimes related to illicit wildlife trading? You bet your last rupee there are, and the development of such sophisticated tools is only going to increase, when brilliant minds come together, as they do at Zoohackathon.

In an effort to eradicate the illegal international selling of exotic animals, as well as other rare products of nature, the U.S. Government’s Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking, highly supports the Zoohackathon project. The mission statement, “demand reduction and increase international cooperation”.

The U.S. Embassy partnered with TRAFFIC India AND WWF-India during this month of October, in New Delhi, for Wildlife Week Celebrations, 2017. At the WWF-India Secretariat, experts and enthusiasts engaged in challenging platforms to discuss solutions of protection for endangered species. What resulted was a two-day competition with 11 teams and 70 participants presenting their technology designs, in front of a panel of highly respected judges.

The prize for first place was given to the team Geekforgreen. The module they created is a web application, which will monitor the trafficking of arachnids, on online platforms. The app also gives information to the public about the illegal structure of wildlife trade, and measures the movement of online trade of Tarantula Spiders and Scorpions, on social media.

Second place winners, Zoodesign, designed an equally valuable contribution to help prevent the threats to wildlife – a tool, Eagle Eye. These infrared filtered camera traps are strategically placed in forest areas where poachers may roam. Its intrinsic feature recognizes the difference between animal movement and that of a poacher. An alarm signal relays “danger”, to a central station of law enforcement officials, when human predators seek animal prey.

As well as being an event for inventions to be demonstrated and publicized, the speakers at Zoohackathon, were able to highlight much awareness to the fact that wildlife smugglers are using “new technology and techniques to find customers in virtual markets”.

The U.S. Embassy was praised and applauded by Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, “for leading on this initiative that will help innovate and develop new solutions to fighting wildlife crime”. He went on to say, “The solutions developed today will go a long way to helping to curb wildlife crime in India.