Web applications, tools to end wildlife trafficking awarded

New Delhi, October 9 (IANS) Web applications and tools to detect and alert authorities of human intervention in reserve forests and monitoring of illegal wildlife trade through social media were among the ideas awarded here at “Zoohackathon”, an initiative supported by the Union Environment Ministry.


As wildlife criminals use sophisticated means to ensure a smooth flow of trade, the two-day Zoohackathon brought together young developers, designers and experts to create web applications and tools to help reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.


The awards were given away on Sunday evening at the WWF-India secretariat here.


The competition was supported by the US Embassy, Ministry of Environment, TRAFFIC India and WWF-India.


Two outstanding ideas and tools developed by teams — ‘Geeksforgreen’ and ‘Zoodesign’ — were awarded.


Geeksforgreen is a quantification tool (web application) that can be used to monitor social media for trafficking of wildlife articles on online platforms.


The runners-up, developers of Zoodesign, came up with the idea of an eagle-eye tool to filter and analyse infra-red motion images shot through camera traps in forest areas to sound an alert whenever there is an human intervention (poachers) in the protected areas of the forests.


The wildlife crime is one of the fastest growing crimes globally, with the environment crimes having an estimated turnover worth over $200 billions, according to a 2016 Interpol report.


“Poaching and illegal wildlife trade is a serious issue and wildlife criminals are using new and sophisticated means to source these wildlife products and sell them to the consumers. The solutions developed today will go a long way in helping to curb wildlife crime in India,” said Ravi Singh, the WWF-India CEO.