Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge will reward the most creative, innovative, and promising science and technology solutions to combat wildlife crime. The competition will provide winners with technical assistance in fields such as technology development, business planning, and marketing. Winners will also receive access to networks of peers, funders, and consumers, and be eligible to apply for a grant to bring the solution to scale. 

At a Glance

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Program Status Update

Wildlife trafficking is pushing many animals towards extinction, including species of elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, turtles, and parrots. The crisis also has a human toll: in the last decade, more than 1,000 rangers have lost their lives protecting wildlife. Criminal networks that are increasingly involved in wildlife trafficking are more organized, sophisticated, and technologically advanced than ever before. For this reason, the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge called on the global community to harness the power of science and technology to address four wildlife-trafficking related issues.  

Problem

Wildlife crime — poaching and trafficking in wildlife and wildlife products — endangers elephants, rhinos, tigers, sharks, parrots, and many other species. It also threatens the safety and development prospects of rural communities in wildlife-rich areas. International criminal networks use poverty and fear to recruit local poachers and traffickers, and take advantage of weak laws and enforcement, porous borders, and corrupt officials. Nature-based tourism, an important source of revenue in many developing countries, is threatened by the loss of iconic wildlife and increased risk of encountering heavily armed criminals.

Objectives

By harnessing the power of technology, USAID and its partners hope to overcome critical barriers and accelerate the decline of wildlife crime. The program, which is terrestrial and marine in scope, will focus on four critically important areas where technology may have transformational impact:

  • Understanding and shutting down trafficking routes
  • Improving forensic tools and data gathering to build strong criminal cases
  • Reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products
  • Combating corruption along the illegal wildlife supply chain