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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.

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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 when you are done with them.

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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.

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

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!).

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