UC students win P300k funding from wildlife hackathon competition

November 17, 2019

With the aim of introducing coding as a means to end wildlife trafficking, two teams of students from the University of the Cordilleras (UC) bagged the second and third spots in the Zoohackathon Philippines, each receiving a funding of P150,000 pesos to kickstart their projects into reality.

Hosted by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and the United States Agency for International Development, Zoohackathon is in consonance with a U.S. Executive Order on combating wildlife trafficking, a pressing issue that poses threats against biodiversity, among others, across the globe. Zoohackathon encourages students and professionals to create innovative tech solutions to this problem specifically on wildlife demand reduction and increased international cooperation.

The two UC teams competed in the "Wild and Alive" Category which aims to encourage the public to learn about "highly trafficked and endangered species in the Philippines and to report wildlife crimes to the DENR."

Taking the second spot is "Ranger Danger" pitched by Computer Science students Wyli Charles Olivete and Renz Rallion Gomez, English major Angelina Pitsch, and Psychology major Paul Jacalan with their adviser Sundoval Cortez. "Ranger Danger" is a game which advocates for wildlife conservation. In this app, players must protect endangered animals from poachers until they are released back into the wild.

Bagging third place is "Wildify" developed by Information Technology student trio Thor Remiendo, Edrylle Ramos, and Zandy Negradas with their adviser Eugene Frank Bayani. "Wildify" integrates augmented reality and machine learning to help users identify endangered species using a smartphone camera.

The Zoohackathon Philippines is the local iteration of the competition which is also staged in 12 other countries such as the Austria, Switzerland and Finland.

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