As our lives become more and more disconnected from the natural world, zoos provide a place for people of all ages to learn about and reconnect with the animal kingdom. These animals are a strong reminder that we are not the only ones here on this planet, but that our collective action as a society can either help or harm the livelihood of all species on Earth.
The Buffalo Zoo understands the importance of being a good environmental steward. Aside from educating about zoology and wildlife conservation through their exhibits, it has initiated programs aimed at getting visitors to help protect wildlife.
Through a partnership with the Eco-Cell program, the Buffalo Zoo collects old cell phones for refurbishment and recycling purposes, while also protecting endangered elephants and mountain gorillas in Africa. By encouraging cell phone recycling, the Zoo is helping to decrease illegal mining for a metallic mineral called Coltan. Coltan is used in the manufacturing of cell phones and other electronics. Illegal mining of the mineral disrupts the health of protected areas, national parks, and endangered wildlife in the Congo.
The Buffalo Zoo also benefits from this program. For every working cell phone collected, Eco-Cell awards up to $15 towards a conservation fund of the zoo. Many of these cell phones are then either sent to be refurbished and redistributed in low-income areas of Latin America, or donated to local hospitals.
To do your part in helping wildlife, donate your old cell phone to the Zoo’s Eco-Cell program. You can drop off your used phone in the receptacle inside the front gate on Parkside Avenue in Buffalo, or ask for assistance on your way in to see the animals.
For more information visit the Buffalo Zoo’s website at www.buffalozoo.org.