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Gorillas on the Line


What do gorillas and cell phones have in common?

A critical component of cell phones 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 phones/electronics raises money to directly support gorilla conservation initiatives through Gorilla SAFE programs. Gorillas are on the line. Join us to answer the call to help save gorillas in the wild!

While you can recycle your old devices throughout the year, Gorillas on the Line … Answer the Call is an annual global mobile phone recycling challenge organized by the Gorilla SAFE engagement team with participants from across the country and around the globe. Partner organizations recruit schools and businesses in their surrounding areas to collect small electronic devices that will be shipped back to ECO-CELL or other centers to be recycled.

How to get involved!

Join Zoo Atlanta in saving gorillas:

  • Register your school, organization, or business to receive campaign emails and updates throughout the year. 
  • Gather your team and collect as many phones for recycling as possible from February 1 – September 1.
  • Spread the word with this flyer. 
  • Ship your phones to ECO-CELL by September 4, using a free shipping label. ECO–CELL will process the phones and tabulate the totals. National results will be announced on World Gorilla Day on September 24.


Bring your phones to Zoo Atlanta to recycle

ANY kind of cell phone will be accepted – even the big, heavy ones from years ago that wouldn’t come close to fitting in your pocket now. For each cell phone received, a donation will be made to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Zoo Atlanta’s partner in gorilla conservation.

You can drop your cell phone off with any member of the Admissions Team or deposit it in the collection bin at The Ford Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center.

Campaign Goals

  • Spread the word with this flyer

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

You can help save gorillas by supporting the work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and other organizations that protect and study gorillas in the wild, and help others to learn about the threats gorillas face and the best solutions for helping them and surrounding communities.

Learn more

Coltan Blog

What does your cell phone have to do with gorillas? Learn about the connection and ways you can help.

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Western lowland gorillas

Zoo Atlanta is currently home to one of the largest populations of gorillas in North America. Western lowland gorillas live in troops led by a dominant silverback, several adult females and their offspring.

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Zoo Atlanta Primate Research

Unknown to most of our visitors, Zoo Atlanta has an active primate behavior and cognition research program, with scientists studying both wild apes and apes in zoological settings.

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Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl