Oklahoma City Zoo, conservation is in our nature. Is it in yours?
The Zoo is looking to the community-at-large to help save gorillas by donating old or used cell phones to the Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge. Schools, organizations, businesses or individuals are encouraged to collect as many cell phones and electronics as they can from now through December 31, in support of gorilla conservation.
How can you help endangered gorillas? By participating in the Zoo's Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge and donating old electronics, you can help reduce the direct effects that cell phones have on wildlife. Small electronics frequently contain the substance coltan. Eighty-percent of the world's known coltan supply is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mining for coltan threatens the habitats of gorillas, chimpanzees, okapi and many other endangered species.
How will your old phones help save gorillas? All of the electronics donated to the Zoo will be disposed of following strict environmental guidelines by our partners at the ECO-CELL Recycling Program, which will then use the resulting parts to refurbish new phones to be sold in developing countries. Any devices that cannot be resold are recycled sustainably and without using landfills. Not only will this decrease the need to mine for more substances like coltan – a process that can have a damaging impact on the habitat gorilla populations need to survive – but 100 percent of the Zoo's proceeds will be donated to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, one of the Zoo’s conservation partners, for additional support.
What devices are accepted? Items accepted include smartphones, cell phones, handheld gaming systems, tablets, WiFi hot circuit boards, GPS systems, Bluetooth headsets, iPods and iPads as well as any chargers or accessories that come with these devices. Items not accepted include laptops, portable CD players and digital cameras. Donations are accepted in the Zoo's Guest Services office during regular business hours. Please be sure to clear or reset all devices before donating.
Answer the call! Help make a difference in the fight to save gorillas and start collecting cell phones today. Together, we can make a difference for wildlife and wild places. We thank you for your support.
Visit www.okczoo.org/take-action for more information. Learn more about the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s fight to save gorillas at gorillafund.org/get-involved.
Learn more about the effects that coltan has on gorilla habitats at our Great EscAPE keeper chats, happening daily at 1:30 p.m. at the Zoo!
UPDATE 1/19/18: During the months of November and December, there were 45 entries in the challenge with one person donating 17 entries. For the full year, almost 200 cellphones and other electronic devices were collected and will be sent off to ECO-CELL for recycling. Thanks to all who contributed!
– Stephanie Smith, animal caretaker
Picture: Andrea Johnson