Gorillas on the Line

At the OKC Zoo, Go Wild!

Gorillas on the Line Cellphone Challenge

Silverback Gorilla Togo Credit Andrea Johnson

Saturday, February 1 through Thursday, April 30

When gorillas are on the line, it’s up to us to answer the call! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is looking to the community-at-large to help save gorillas by donating old or used cell phones to the Gorillas on the Line Cellphone Challenge.

Gorillas on the Line logo 

What do gorillas and cellphones have in common? 

A critical component of cellphones and other small electronics is a substance called coltan. One of the few places in the world where coltan is found is the forests of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo—right in the middle of gorilla habitat. As a result of mining for coltan, critical habitat has been destroyed and gorillas have been displaced or even killed by poachers.

Recycling old cellphones helps reduce the demand for coltan and protects gorilla habitat in Africa. Gorillas are on the line. Join us to answer the call to help save gorillas in the wild! These items can be dropped off for recycling in the Zoo’s guest experience office in the entry plaza.

Gorilla at OKC Zoo Credit Thane Johnson

Recycle used phones and small electronics at OKC Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International are working together with Eco-Cell to recycle cellphones, help the environment, and raise money for gorilla conservation.

ANY kind of cellphone will be accepted – even the big, heavy ones from years ago that wouldn’t come close to fitting in your pocket now. 

You can drop your cellphone for recycling at the Zoo's guest experience office in the entry plaza.

Accepted small electronics include: iPods, iPads, tablets, MP3 players and handheld gaming systems.

OKC Zoo Gorilla

How to get involved

Host a cellphone drive and help save gorillas. Register your school or organization with the OKC Zoo’s campaign coordinator by emailing Your coordinator will send you resources throughout the campaign to engage your participants.

  • Gather your students, group, employees and/or team and collect as many devices for recycling as possible from February 1-April 30, 2020.
  • Everything you need to know about hosting a drive is included here
  • Collected phones/deceives need to be shipped to Eco-Cell by May 3, using the free shipping label we will send to you. Eco-Cell will process the phones and tabulate the totals. National results and the regional contest winners will be announced on World Gorilla Day on September 24, 2020.

Last year, over 260,000 people were engaged in the campaign nationally, collecting 12,486 devices that were recycled, and raising $6,055 for gorilla conservation. For 2020, Gorillas on the Line hopes to collect 20,000 cellphones for recycling and engage 200,000 children and other community members in gorilla conservation action. 

Photo credits: Andrea Johnson and Thane Johnson

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