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Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge: New England Aquarium is tackling wildlife trafficking at ports

The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge rewards science and tech innovations that fight wildlife crime. Congratulations to the New England Aquarium, one of the Challenge’s four Grand Prize Winners! They share a more than $900,000 Grand Prize to accelerate their exceptional innovation, which leverages “smart invoice” technology to help port inspectors find illegal wildlife trade hidden in plain sight.

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Automated Shipment Forensics

New England Aquarium

Issue Area: Strengthen forensic evidence

The Problem: Illicit wildlife trade is hidden in legally documented shipments because no system exists to analyze shipments at the “species per box” level or in real time.

The Solution: New England Aquarium’s Automated Shipment Forensics leverages “smart invoice” technology to help port inspectors find illegal trade hidden in plain sight. Automated Shipment Forensics uses computer vision to convert the paper copy of each shipping declaration and invoice into a digital format, and then conducts real-time forensic analyses on shipment information, determining a pattern-matched probability assessment of illegal trade. By providing real-time forensics on suspicious trade activity, the technology eliminates the need for port agents to manually sift through paper invoices and enables them to act swiftly.

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