12 & 13 December 2020

The Conservation Project International launched Vaquita Hacks, the world’s first virtual hackathon dedicated to finding innovative technological and artificial intelligence solutions to save the vaquita from extinction. 


Delivered in partnership with global experts from Earth League International, Earth Hacks and the Countering Wildlife Trafficking Institute, Vaquita Hacks attracted over 100 participants including lawyers, students and early career conservationists worldwide. 

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National Geographic's award-winning documentary Sea of Shadows follows a multinational team of scientists, jouranlists, activists and undercover agents as they go up against the drug cartels and illegal traffickers in a bid to save the vaquita.

there are less than 10 vaquita left.

The impending extinction of the vaquita is attributed to the illegal fishing of totoaba, a fish killed for its swim bladder as a delicacy and ancient Chinese medicine, in Mexico's Gulf of California. Fishing with nets, the criminals kill all life in their path, including the vaquita. 

the world's first hackathon designed to save the vaquita.

The purpose of Vaquita Hacks was to work with students and early career conservationists to help develop new technological solutions to assist with Earth League International's investigatory work in disrupting the totoaba cartels' illicit supply chain and to help save the Vaquita from extinction. The technological learnings from the hackathon will now be applied to future wildlife trafficking projects around the world.

who was behind the hackathon?

The Conservation Project International delivered Vaquita Hacks in partnership with global experts from Earth League International, Earth Hacks and the Countering Wildlife Trafficking Institute.

Global technology giant Microsoft, a key sponsor of Vaquita Hacks, awarded $20,000 worth of Azure software credits for the most innovative hackathon solutions. 


There is so much more knowledge that can be shared when it comes to how we can better protect our natural environment. All too often we miss out on important information simply from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Conservation Project International is about bringing together a global perspective, sharing knowledge, and making the projects that matter happen as a collective voice.

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Ⓒ The Conservation Project International

Company No: 10997630 registered office 71-75 Shelton Street,

Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ