Coding to End Wildlife Trafficking! U.S. Embassy Vienna, Vienna Zoo, and the Austrian Ministry of Economic Affairs


The U.S. Embassy in Vienna in cooperation with Schönbrunn Zoo and the Austrian Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs is pleased to host a "Zoohackathon". Ambitious students and entrepreneurs are encouraged to join us for a 24-hour global competition to create innovative tech solutions.


What is a Zoohackathon?

The Zoohackathon is a global competition where teams create innovative technology solutions that can help combat the challenges of wildlife trafficking and protect endangered species.

Proposed solutions range from mobile apps that warn potential buyers about products that contain trafficked wildlife to interfaces helping educate the public about protected species, or to tools to locate poachers. Problem statements are solicited from wildlife experts, and will be distributed to the participants three weeks ahead of the event.

At the end of the hackathon, teams will pitch their ideas to an expert panel of judges. Local winners will receive attractive prizes and winners from all of the 15 different host sites around the world will be eligible for a global prize.


How to Register: Participants should form teams of 4-6 people. Indiviudals that do not have a full team can sign up, but they should expect to be paired with others to form a full team. Spaces are limited and teams should register as soon as possible. Participants should bring their own laptops and/or tablets.

Participants will receive a detailed event program after registration.


Contact: For questions related to the event and the registration process, please contact

View full rules


Students and young entrepreneurs aged 16+ can participate. Participants should form teams of 4-6 people. Individuals that do not have a full team can sign up, but they should expect to be paired with others to form a full team.


The Zoohackathon will be held at the Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo - the world's oldest zoo - on November 16-17, 2019. Students will hack away at the Elephant House right alongside majestic elephants. Teams will submit their final solutions at the end of the hackathon on November 17.

Participants must register through the Event Brite registration page:

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 prior to the end of the event. Participants should also need to register for an account with GitHub (, which can be used during the event to facilitate collaborative coding and accessibility of codebases. GitHub can 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 event, 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 3-6 individuals.  Please contact the event organizers for more details on this.

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

The winning team is required to upload their Zoohackathon presentation and applicable content online on DevPost and GitHub before the end of the event in order to be eligible for the 2019 global prize.

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


Gina Kassem

Gina Kassem
Director, U.S. Department of State Environmental Hub in Budapest, Hungary

Florian Frauscher

Florian Frauscher
Director General, Innovation and International Policy, Austrian Ministry of Digital and Economic Affairs


Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo

Martin Rose

Martin Rose
Deputy Director, CITES Expert, Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism


United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime

Judging Criteria

  • Creativity
  • Viability


  • Social Good