The U.S. Department of State runs Zoohackathon, a global competition to develop new
and innovative technological tools to fight wildlife trafficking. U.S. Embassies around
the world host Zoohackathon events following the hackathon model. Over 48 hours,
university students, coders, scientists, and wildlife enthusiasts collaborate in teams at zoos, wildlife organizations, technology start-up facilities, and education centers to create software solutions for real wildlife conservation problems. Zoohackathon solutions can take many different forms including websites, mobile apps, website extensions, online databases, and software. At each competition, an expert panel of judges selects a winning solution. A Washington DC-based committee then reviews the local winning solutions and chooses a global winner. The global winner wins a prize and will potentially receive support to further develop and deploy their solution.


Hackathon Sponsors


$5,000 in prizes

First Place

Grant award of $3,500 from the Kalahari Conservation Society to develop their winning tech demo into a fully developed solution.

Second Place

$1,000 from the Kalahari Conservation Society to develop their winning tech demo into a fully developed solution.

Third Place

$500 from the Kalahari Conservation Society to develop their winning tech demo into a fully developed solution.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:



All participants must RSVP for the Zoohackathon through the site registration webpage: Zoohackathon organizers reserve the right to verify eligibility and to adjudicate on any dispute at any time.  All teams and individuals should register as private individuals, representing only themselves, and not on behalf of their employers.  Only works created between the start and end time of each entrant’s selected event location are eligible for prizes.



Participants planning to attend an in-person event will register for here:  A complete list of 2019 events is available on 

All event attendees will also need to create an account on DevPost ( This is the platform where participants will need to submit and upload their final projects before the end of the Zoohackathon. Participants will also need to register for an account with a code sharing platform such as GitHub ( or Bitbucket ( – these platforms can help facilitate collaborative coding and broader sharing and accessibility of codebases. GitHub or similar sites also have ways to track lines of code committed and the amount of subsequent reach of those codebases (e.g. the number of times a code base has been cloned/downloaded).

Throughout the events, participants will work in teams to create solutions that can help solve the problems indicated in the problem statement of their choice.  Teams may be composed of 2-6 individuals unless otherwise specified by the local host site.  Please contact the specific event organizers for more details on this.

Presentations and supporting content should be uploaded prior to the end of the event.  

In fact, the winning team from each host site, identified by the panel of judges is required to upload their Zoohackathon presentation and applicable content online on DevPost and GitHub (or a similar platform) before the end of their Zoohackathon in order to be eligible for the 2019 global prize. Host site organizers should encourage teams to upload their presentations and all applicable content to DevPost and the code-sharing collaboration site (i.e. GitHub, Bitbucket, etc.) before leaving the event. Each entrant/participant listed on a submission must have registered with the selected host city site through Eventbrite and have registered accounts with these platforms.

All submissions must include a 2-5 minute demonstration (e.g. PowerPoint) or other visual digital presentation of the application /prototype/ or solution. 


David Krzywda

David Krzywda
U.S. Department of State

Victoria Peabody

Victoria Peabody
U.S. Department of State


Botswana Innovation Hub


Kalahari Conservation Society


Vulcan Inc.

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of Idea/Innovation
  • Impact
  • Interface
  • Presentation

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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