Each summer camp season we challenge our campers to collect and recycle more cell phones than any other Zoo camper to get kids active in our Eco-cell program and build awareness about how our efforts can really make a difference in global conservation. This year we had three young ladies–Cece, Lucy, and Avery– collect over 100 phones for our program. Their efforts were rewarded a couple of weeks ago when they came to the Zoo for a special treat. They met Zoo Director Thane Maynard and interacted with Primate Team Leader Ron Evans and one of the gorilla groups. They took home a super-sized plush gorilla as a reminder of their contribution to gorilla conservation.
How does recycling cell phones help save gorillas? Cell phones contain an ore called Coltan, which is mined in endangered gorilla habitat in Africa. Reducing the demand for Coltan lessens the negative impact the mining industry has on gorillas and their habitat. The Zoo’s Saving Species program recycled more than 19,000 cell phones through Eco-cell thanks to efforts of people like Cece, Lucy, and Avery. Got an old cell phone sitting in a drawer at your home? We’ll take it!