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Working together to save gorillas

Well hello there! My name is Allie, and I am currently a Primate Seasonal Keeper here at Zoo Atlanta. Today, I’m going to be telling you a bit about our longtime partner in gorilla conservation, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. As you probably know, the gorillas who call Zoo Atlanta home are western lowland gorillas, a critically endangered species. Our partnership with the Fossey Fund, in place now for more than 20 years, connects the gorillas here at the Zoo with wild gorillas in Africa by helping the Fossey Fund continue their important work for gorillas and their habitats.

Renowned scientist Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda in 1967 to protect and study endangered mountain gorillas. Her work is well known today and is continued through research across the world. The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s headquarters is also located here at Zoo Atlanta, and we provide pro-bono resources that help them focus their work in the field in Africa.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has aided in gorilla conservation for over 50 years! This has been successful through daily protection of gorillas, scientific research, education of future generations of scientists, and through helping local communities with basic needs. Currently, the Fossey Fund works in two locations: Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Rwanda, this organization focuses on protecting the mountain gorillas (endangered), and in Congo, they protect the Grauer’s gorillas (critically endangered).

Due to the incredible efforts of the Fossey Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List recently re-classified mountain gorillas as endangered. This is an incredible win for conservation, as they were listed as critically endangered before. Though these gorillas are still at risk of extinction, their odds of survival in the future are greater.

Now I know you want to help save gorillas too! All you need to do is recycle your electronic devices. Inside these devices, there is a metallic ore called coltan which is found in Africa, the homeland of all gorillas. This mineral is currently used to prevent electronics from overheating. Unfortunately, when there is a high demand for coltan, the habitats of the gorillas we know and love are being destroyed. But wait – here’s where you can help! If we recycle our electronics, then the demand for coltan stays low, and the gorillas can keep their habitat in the wild (less mining for coltan). In case you aren’t sure what electronic devices we recycle, just ask! Some examples include cell phones, tablets, computers, chargers and more! You can recycle your devices right here at the Zoo at the Super Bowl LIII Recycling Rally this Saturday, January 19 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). If you’re visiting another day, you can also recycle your electronic devices inside the Zoo at the Willie B. Gorilla Conservation Center. Please tell all your friends and family that the next time you’re trying to get rid of used/old electronics, recycle! The gorillas and I thank you in advance!

Allie Coronado
Seasonal Keeper, Primates

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