ABQ Biopark Zoo wants your old cell phones

March 30, 2023 - Miyawni Curtis - The Daily Lobo

This spring, the ABQ BioPark Zoo asked the community to donate any old cell phones and electronics to help save chimps and other wildlife, according to the city of Albuquerque website.

The ABQ BioPark will send outdated and old technology to be recycled through ECO-CELL, a company that focuses on recycling electronics. This is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’  initiative “Gorillas on the Line,” according to Patrick Horley, ABQ BioPark aquarist.

“We have been participating in the phone recycling bin for about two to three years, partnered with a larger community of zoo’s through a program called ‘Gorillas on the Line.’ All zoos are working towards the same goal,” Horley said. 

Coltan is a metallic mineral used in electronics to restore electricity and keep devices running. Mining coltan destroys gorillas’ habitats in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the city of Albuquerque. This was a motivating factor for Alyssa Batts, who donated her phone. 

“I had to donate — it is super unfortunate that these animals are being affected just so we can have a new shiny phone. Overmining is destroying habitats,” Batts said. 

Coltan mining has significantly impacted the gorials population with fewer than 100,000 western lowland gorillas and fewer than 4,000 eastern lowland gorillas left, according to an article by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Recycling bins are located at the front gates of the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo and the Aquarium and the Botanic Garden courtyard. The community can onate during their 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily park hours, according to the CABQ website.

The BioPark stated that s electronics such as cell phones, tablets, iPod, MP3 players and other electronic devices are acceptable.  

Miyawni Curtis is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @MiyawniCurtis 


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