Blog Blog

The gorilla and electronics connection

Face to face with a gorilla, you know immediately that we are so close, and yet so different. Like you, the gorilla bonds with its family troupe, seeks out food and shelter, and spends time exploring, playing and napping.

Unlike you, gorillas are critically endangered.


The Zoo's work to help secure a future for gorillas in the wild invites a reflection: that each of us has a role in caring for the lives of others. Please join us in helping to save gorillas by taking two easy steps to be a smart consumer.

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Use your smartphone, tablet and computer for the entirety of their shelf lives.
  • Recycle your electronic items at the Zoo when you are done with them.


Why does this matter? The minerals used in our smartphones and other popular electronic gear are extracted from ecologically sensitive habitats where gorillas live. The "3TG" minerals - gold, tungsten, tin, tantalum - are in high demand as our consumer appetite for new smartphones skyrockets.

Many of the mines that extract these minerals are deep in the jungle, and miners eat bushmeat to survive, including critically endangered species such as the Grauer's gorilla. It's important for the United States and other countries, as well as private companies, to disclose where these minerals are sourced, both to protect species and to reduce a source of illicit income for criminal groups.

Earlier this month, a dangerous amendment to the omnibus appropriations bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that puts critically endangered gorillas at risk. As the omnibus proceeds, the Senate will have a chance to reject this amendment or any measure that weakens transparency in the mineral supply chain.


So here's one more thing you can do to help save species:

Contact your Senators and ask that they vote down the Huizenga amendment to the Financial Services appropriations bill just passed in the House. Your email or phone call will have the greatest impact when you use your own words and state clearly why you care about this issue and what your elected official can do to make it right.

Thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio and others, you've heard of conflict diamonds and blood ivory. Conflict minerals likewise pose a direct threat to endangered species and to international stability.

Happily, there's a way forward - and it is in your power to take action today: consume responsibly (smart phones can last a long time and then be recycled!) and engage politically (our elected officials work for you!).

Thank you for signing up!

Close Me