Authored by Aaron Jesue, animal care specialist for the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS).
If a gorilla was on the other line, would you answer the call? The DZS and our dedicated supporters certainly would!
Since 2019, the Detroit Zoo has helped answer the call to save gorillas around the world through the Gorillas on the Line…Answer the Call campaign. From February to April each year, we partner with Gorilla SAFE(Saving Animals from Extinction) for its global cell phone recycling challenge. Money raised by recycling used cell phones and small electronics through this challenge directly supports gorilla conservation initiatives in Africa.
If you haven’t heard about the Gorillas on the Line…Answer the Call campaign before, here’s the best part — it’s easy to participate. Participation can be as simple as dropping an old, unwanted phone off at the Zoo or as big as getting a Michigan school or major business on board to collect devices by the hundreds.
The 2023 campaign starts Feb. 1 and runs through April 30, but we can continue sending in items through the second week of September. The DZS also never stops collecting electronics. We keep collection bins out at the Detroit Zoo all year long, so feel free to drop off your unwanted small devices on your next trip to the Zoo!
Now, you may be asking, how can my old electronics save gorillas?
Every device sent to the Detroit Zoo gets sorted, packaged and mailed to an electronics recycling company in Louisville, Kentucky called ECO-Cell. From there, each device gets counted on a national scale for the Detroit Zoo. When the numbers are tabulated, each device equates to a different dollar amount, and that money is directly donated to gorilla conservation initiatives. This means that when you recycle your electronics at the Zoo, you are directly saving gorillas.
2023 marks the fifth year of the Gorillas on the Line campaign. The Detroit Zoo has participated every year, and each year we continue to grow and collect more devices to support gorillas in the wild. In our first year, we collected 490 devices and donated $204. In 2022, that number grew to 1,793 devices and $1,242. Since 2019, the DZS has donated 3,532 devices and $2,042. That’s amazing, and it’s because of our group effort — our troop collective.
Last year, the Detroit Zoo finished the challenge third in North America in 2022, following only behind the Toronto Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo. Overall, participants across the globe collected 10,359 devices and raised $7,540 for gorilla conservation.
Though we have our eyes on first place for this year’s challenge, the important part is that every donation counts. Every device means another dollar going directly to Gorilla SAFE conservation organizations in Africa, so the next time you get a call from a gorilla, don’t leave them hanging! Answer the call and save a species.
Are you ready to answer the call? Learn more here.