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Recycle your cells for chinchillas!

If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ve almost certainly heard us mention ECO-CELL, an organization that helps species affected by coltan (an ore essential to cell phones) mining by recycling used electronics. Usually when we talk about ECO-CELL, it’s in tandem with gorilla conservation, or promoting Gorillas on the Line, an annual global mobile phone recycling challenge organized by the Gorilla SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) engagement team. But did you know that coltan mining also affects wild chinchillas? 

While the Congo Basin (home to critically endangered gorillas) is one of the world’s most coltan-rich regions, many ores and minerals necessary for cell phone production are also mined in Latin America. This includes the Chilean Highlands, the natural habitat of many wild chinchillas. If you caught our most recent Conservation Blog, you’re familiar with the amazing work of The Chinchilla Conservation Project, one of our 2023-2024 Quarters for Conservation partners. But did you know that you can help protect wild chinchilla populations with one simple action? 

I’d be willing to bet that at least some of you have an old cell phone, iPod, etc. stashed somewhere in a junk drawer. When you recycle your electronics, the minerals in them can be reused, which reduces the need to mine for new minerals in wildlife habitats- including in the Chilean Highlands. Fishing those old electronics out and giving them a new life couldn’t be easier. You can ship your items directly to ECO-CELL using their free shipping label, OR drop your items off with us here at the Zoo! You can recycle with us by leaving your electronics with any member of the Admissions Team, or utilize the collection bin at The Ford Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center.

As always, we’d like to thank you for joining our conservation efforts! Together we can help create a better future for species big and small.


Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl