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The team Oily Palms created the winning solution at the inaugural Zoohackathon held at Woodland Park Zoo over the weekend. (Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Woodland Park Zoo)

Coders, designers, conservation experts and other technologists took part in an event at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo over the weekend aimed at seeking solutions to the crisis of global wildlife trafficking.

Seattle was just one host site for the first-ever Zoohackathon. Zoos in San Diego, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., London and Sydney, Australia also took part.

The winning solution at Woodland Park Zoo came from a team of six called Oily Palms. Their winning idea was a citizen science engagement tool to allow people to report the cause of local deforestation activity to NGOs. According to the zoo, each team member received a year-round membership to the zoo and a behind-the-scenes animal encounter for the future. The winning solutions from each of the host sites will be submitted to a global competition.

Team members hack away at solutions to halt the demand for illegally traded wildlife products. (Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren / Woodland Park Zoo)

Zoohackathon in Seattle was sponsored by Vulcan Inc., Google and Socrata. There were wildlife trafficking and subject matter experts on hand from the U.S. Department of State, Microsoft Research, Socrata, City of Seattle, University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology, Vulcan Inc., and Woodland Park Zoo, who served as facilitators, judges and mentors.

“Vulcan and Paul Allen are pleased to support Woodland Park Zoo’s Zoohackathon. The world’s wildlife is in crisis due to an explosion in the international trafficking of animals and plants,” said James Deutsch, wildlife conservation director for Vulcan Philanthropy. “Technology is part of the solution, and Zoohackathon is an exciting way to engage Seattle’s tech community in developing groundbreaking solutions.”


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