Western Lowland Gorilla

Hang up on Deforestation: EcoCell and Gorillas Call for Your Help

Did you know that less than 1% of cell phones are recycled? That's a lot, considering that approximately 95% of Americans own a cell phone! 


Many of us have old phones lying around our house that we don’t even use. These phones contain coltan, which is a material mined from the western lowland gorilla's natural habitat. When recycled, old electronics and chargers can have a major impact on the lives of gorillas.


What is coltan? 

Coltan is an ore used in cell phones to retain battery. Much of the world’s coltan supply is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is also where endangered gorillas live.

Because of the major cell phone demand, the Congo’s coltan mining business has increased rapidly in recent years. This has led to dramatic destruction of the natural habitat of great apes and has brought the species closer to extinction.

How can you help?

Franklin Park Zoo has teamed up with Eco-Cell, a company that partners with zoos across the country, to collect your recycled cell phones and refurbish them for reuse. This reduces the need for more coltan, leads to less mining and destruction of habitat, and helps the gorillas!


What to recycle

  • Cell phones
  • Smartphones
  • iPods/ iPads
  • Tablets
  • Adapters
  • Chargers
  • Earbuds
  • MP3 players

Where to recycle

Bring your used electronics to the admissions booth at Franklin Park Zoo!

Image credit: Zoo Atlanta