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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 cell phones 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!

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. Proceeds from recycled devices support Gorilla SAFE conservation initiatives. 

Get involved!

Bring your phones to Zoo Atlanta to recycle

Zoo Atlanta and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International are working together with ECO-CELL to recycle cell phones, help the environment, and raise money for gorilla conservation.

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.

Compete for Gorillas

In 2019, 12,486 electronic devices were collected and raised $6,055 to save gorillas in the wild! In 2020, 6,194 electronic devices were collected with over $2,000 raised for conservation. 2021 represents the third year of the Gorillas on the Line … Answer the Call campaign, with a goal to collect 15,000 electronic devices!  

 Join Zoo Atlanta in saving gorillas:

  • Gather your team and collect as many phones for recycling as possible from February 1-September 24. September 24 is World Gorilla Day!  
  • Ship your phones to ECO-CELL by October 1, using a free shipping label we will send to you. ECOCELL 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, 2021. 

Register Now

Regional winner:  Silverback Supporter – You and your group will receive one painting created by one of our gorilla artists!
Runner-Up: Primate PalAdopt an infant gorilla!

Campaign Goals

  • Collect 15,000 cell phones worldwide for recycling. 

Spread the word with this flyer.

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

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