Zoo New England is answering the call to help gorillas through a unique program at the Stone and Franklin Park zoos in Stoneham and Boston, among other locations. 

The program invites guests to drop old electronic devices into recycling bins as part of a larger program known as Gorillas on the Line. 

Gorillas on the Line has zoos across the country participating to support gorilla populations.

“Collectively, we’re all making a difference, and each individual person can make a difference,” Zoo New England President and CEO John Linehan said. 

Cell phones contain coltan, which is mined from the natural habitat of the western lowland gorilla. 

High cell phone demand means the coltan mining business has increased rapidly in recent years. Mining, in turn, has led to habitat destruction and a decline in gorilla populations.  

Gorillas on the Line organizers say recycling old devices can help save crucial habitats. 

“By recycling, they’re able to extract this mineral back out and re-use it in other electronics,” Linehan said. 

“There’s no replacement for it, so, by recycling cell phones and other electronics, we’re reducing the need to mine it,” Linehan continued.

The zoos have set up special recycling bins that explain what kind of devices they’ll accept. The zoos are also working with area businesses and schools to provide further options to help.

“It truly makes a difference,” Linehan said. 

This year’s Gorillas on the Line challenge marks the fifth running of the program. It launched this year on Feb. 1 and will continue through April 30.

Learn more here.

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