Recycling Your Old Phones for Gorillas, Why?

“Hery, why do we have to recycle our old phones for gorillas?” Bli Nyoman asked me when we arrived at the research hut for the gorillas at the Zoo.

Bli Nyoman (Bli means an older brother in Balinese) is a colleague of mine in Singaraja, Bali, Indonesia who had a chance to visit me in Melbourne when he presented his paper in the 7th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICSSE) this year (link).

At the hut, thorough information was provided. At the corner, a tall plastic recycle bin for old phones was provided. A glass frame with a gorilla’ image was displayed. Interestingly, it was portrayed using unused mobile phones.

“I don’t know for sure, Bli,” I replied. “But I guess it relates to excessive exploitation of either the woods or the foods in their habitat.”

I reckon this because it must be similar to what happens to Orang Utan in Borneo. I also learned something similar when I used to join a club for outdoor activities in the past, such as climbing, caving, and preserving baby turtles and edelweiss.

Why is it important then? I believe some of you already know the reason. However, there may be others who do not know why it is very important to do this.

We tried to search for more information. We found out that the mobile phones which are useful to humans, consume huge amounts of coltan (columbite-tantalite). It is a non-renewable, non-recyclable metallic ore. The mineral is an essential element for producing electric capacitors.

An International conservation manager at Australia Zoo said, “Unfortunately, 80% of the world’s known resources of the coltan ore are found in central Africa which is the only home of the gorillas. Not only that, the gorillas are also hunted for their meat during the mining or for meat trades.” Therefore, this exploration is deadly to these primates. To anticipate a rapid extinction of the gorillas, mobile phone recycling program/act is enormously significant. The objectives are to recycle coltan and cut demand for coltan mining, and to raise funds to pay for extra park rangers to prevent gorilla poaching.

After finding this information, I realized something. I told Bli Nyoman, “I remember, I have one old phone in my drawer, Bli. I should recycle it soon.”

“Yes, that would be good, Hery!” he exclaimed enthusiastically.

P.S. To know more, please visit

©mhsantosa (2012)
I am happy to share this. Please feel free to reblog or share the link, all with my accreditation. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Recycling Your Old Phones for Gorillas, Why?

  1. marissa says:

    Would you know how I could contact Bli or someone who might help me set up a recycling program for mobile phones in Bali?

  2. yessiesuniartie says:

    Yes …. We must concern to environmental issues and some exploitation in fact that’s mobile phone made deadly to primates.
    So Hery … Maybe I will send my old phone to your place .. 😀

    1. Made Hery Santosa says:

      Indeed Mbak Yes. It does happen to our orang utans and sumatran tigers, for instance. We must protect them. Oh yes, please Mbak 🙂

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