Jakarta team wins regional Zoohackathon for wildlife info-gathering system

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 03 Nov 2019

UMS information technology and communication department director Assoc Prof Ag Asri Ag Ibrahim presenting the first place prize to the winning team from Jakarta at the Zoohackathon event on Nov 3, 2019.

KOTA KINABALU: A team from Jakarta, Indonesia won the coding event at the regional leg of the Zoohackathon here for their information extraction system that cuts the time needed to gather wildlife-related data.

The six-member Navy Pangolin team beat 16 other groups, comprising 85 participants from Sabah, Sarawak and Indonesia who gathered over the weekend to develop technological-based tools to curb wildlife trafficking.

The group, comprising software engineers, university staff and an environmentalists in their mid twenties, won a RM2,000 cash prize as well as a chance to compete against other Zoohackathon finalists globally.

"The system that we came up with extracts data from online articles relevant to wildlife. You fill a keyword and it pulls out all information like current trends in wildlife trafficking, what kind of animal parts are being traded, by whom, and laws related to that," said team leader and software engineer Lintang Adyuta Sutawika.

"There is no need to manually gather and analyse the information as the system does it for you.

"Analysts will be able to gather information faster," he said when met after the closing ceremony of the two-day event on Sunday (Nov 3) at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Team member Nuruliawati, who represents Indonesia's young conservation community Tambora, said their prototype system only works with Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia articles but they plan to broaden to include news in English.

Meanwhile, the second and third places went to teams from Sarawak who won RM1,000 and RM500 respectively.

In second place was a group of college students who proposed a drone to track poachers in the wild, while the third place was a group of 14-year-olds from Sarikei's SMK St Anthony who developed the "Adopt a Rhino" application to create awareness about the animal globally.

The Zoohackathon project was initially supported by the US government's Task Force on Combating Wildlife Trafficking and has grown to engage developers, designers, project managers, and subject matter experts to create applications, systems, and tools to help to solve real and existing problems.

Meanwhile, the US Embassy's environment, science and technology officer Will West Follmer, said the Kota Kinabalu champions' work will be judged with the rest of 14 other Zoohackathon regional winners globally sometime in December.

"The winning teams at world level are expected to be announced sometime in January next year," he said.

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