Mobile phone recycling helps save gorillas




Credit: Zoos Victoria

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Zoos around Australia are taking part in a national mobile phone recycling campaign to help save gorillas.

The recycling program, They're Calling on You, aims to reduce the need for coltan, a metallic ore used in mobile manufacture, to divert phones from landfill and to raise money for primate conservation.

The illegal mining of coltan in West Africa is threatening the survival of gorillas and other primates through habitat destruction and violent unrest.

Distinguished primatologist Jane Goodall launched the beginnings of the campaign at Melbourne Zoo in October last year, but yesterday the campaign was launched nationally, with Sea World's Australian sea lion, Spud, becoming the first mobile recycler of the new Australia-wide program.

"We have more mobile phones than people in Australia, and we normally upgrade these phones every 18 to 24 months. This sort of consumption places a huge amount of pressure on gorilla and other primate habitat," said Sea World's Director of Marine Sciences, Trevor Long.

"Sea World is pleased to be joining with other zoos across Australia to help alleviate this pressure and play a role in primate conservation."

Melbourne Zoo's Community Conservation Manager, Rachel Lowry, said the campaign aims to show people that old mobile phones can do something positive for gorillas and other primates in West Africa.

"They're Calling on You is not about making people feel guilty for having a mobile phone," she said, "it's about turning a process that has been threatening wildlife for years into something positive for the future of gorillas and other primates in West Africa."

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