The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge: Win Up To $500,000 For Science And Tech Solutions To Stamp Out Wildlife Crime

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge is a competition that aims to source innovative science and tech-based solutions to combat illegal trafficking of marine and terrestrial wildlife. The Tech Challenge is a partnership with the Smithsonian InstitutionNational Geographic and TRAFFIC.

The Challenge focuses on four issue areas: understanding and shutting down transit routes, improving forensic tools and intelligence gathering to build strong criminal cases, reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, and fighting corruption. Winners will receive financial, technical and other assistance to scale their solutions.


A Thai law enforcement officer carries a skull confiscated in Bangkok

A Thai law enforcement officer carries a
skull confiscated in Bangkok


Wildlife trafficking endangers elephants, rhinos, tigers, sharks, and many other wildlife species. Poachers are often linked to international criminal networks that take advantage of weak laws and enforcement, porous borders, and corruption. The loss of iconic wildlife and the presence of violent elements linked to trafficking threaten nature-based tourism, an important source of revenue in many developing countries.


The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge will reward the most creative, innovative, and promising science and technology solutions to combat wildlife trafficking. The competition will offer applicants an opportunity to win Grand Prizes of up to $500,000, as well as 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. By harnessing the power of technology, the Challenge hopes to overcome critical barriers and accelerate the pace at which we address the wildlife trafficking crisis. The program, which is terrestrial and marine in scope, will focus on four critically important areas in which technology may have transformational impact:

  1. Understanding and shutting down trafficking routes
  2. Improving forensic tools to build strong criminal cases
  3. Reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products
  4. Combating corruption along the illegal wildlife supply chain


The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge will be open to eligible entrants with a great solution for saving endangered wildlife. We hope to attract applicants from both inside and outside the field of conservation such as wildlife biologists, software engineers, criminologists, forensic scientists, social media analysts, and university researchers.

Download the summary pdf.

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