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Gorillas on the Line: NC Zoo needs your old cellphone to save gorillas in Africa

The gorilla population has gone down significantly in recent years due to food and habitat loss. But you can help and all you need is an old phone or computer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friday, Sept. 24 is World Gorilla Day, and conservationists are asking people in North Carolina to donate their old cellphones and computers to help save the lives of gorillas around the world. 

Let's connect the dots. 

The gorilla population has gone down dramatically over the last few decades. Their food and habitats are getting destroyed for resources like lumber and minerals. Coltan is a mineral found in the ground in central Africa that's used to make important parts of computers and cellphones. 

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Unfortunately, the most efficient way to get coltan is through mining, which destroys the gorillas' natural habitat. 

But here's how anyone with a phone or computer can help. Coltan can be recycled from old devices. The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro is part of Gorillas on the Line, a worldwide cellphone recycling initiative. The zoo is home to a troop of seven western lowland gorillas. 

People can bring in their old phones, tablets, iPods, or MP3 players, which are then sent off to recycling partners, where they strip the coltan without harming the gorillas' habitat. Any person who brings in an old device on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. will receive a free Gorillas on the Line shirt. 

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