Article updated 4 November 2009
When we first published this post, we said that recycling mobile phones helps relieve pressure on Gorilla habitat due to the recycling of a metal called Coltan, as reported on Channel 7's Sunday Night program. Mobile Muster has advised that is not actually the case because Coltan is not recovered. Coltan is only used in a small number of phones that are specifically for people with hearing impairments. They say it would be too expensive to have a system for recovering such a tiny amount of metal.
2009 is actually the Year of the Gorilla. It is difficult to understand how the catastrophy in these regions can ever be solved for the people and animals. Most of us can only take solace from knowing about the amazing partnerships of organisations working to save the gorillas.
The Year of the Gorilla is a collaboration between the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership and other incredible groups. This excerpt from the Year of the Gorilla website explains:
Why are gorillas so important?
Great Apes, and especially the largest of all, gorillas, have always been a source of inspiration and fascination for humans. Their close kinship to humans makes them stand out in the animal kingdom. Gorillas have been shown to possess self-awareness, remarkable intelligence and an ability to communicate with signs and symbols as well as use some basic tools. They express emotions such as joy and distress in a way similar to humans.
Gorillas are endangered and continue to face severe threats. All the great ape species of Africa - the bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas- and the orangutans of Southeast Asia are in steep decline, and the rate of loss is increasing virtually everywhere. The conservation of viable wild populations of each species, necessary to prevent their extinction, represents a difficult challenge to humanity. Not only are these species humankind’s closest relatives, they also play a key role in their forest homes, which in turn regulate the global climate.
Read more at the Year of the Gorilla Blog