5 Easy Ways You Can Protect Gorillas

September 21, 2023

World Gorilla Day is on Sunday, September 24. Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating these charismatic animals with a full day of activities, including enrichment sessions, action ideas mobile learning stations, and demonstrations.

Even if you can’t make it to the zoo that day. you can help gorillas from wherever you are. Here are some simple things you can do.

1. Learn More

Visit the zoo anytime for an fun, immersive way to find out more about western lowland gorillas both in human care and in the wild. Simply watching them go about their day is an education in itself—and can provide hours of fascination. Stick around for the daily zoo Ape Cognition & Care demonstrations, which provide additional information about the research we’ve been doing with the gorillas, how they have choice and control over their environments, and how we can help them thrive in the future.

At home, you can always find out more about gorillas and the conservation efforts surrounding them through many of the wonderful media sources that are out there, from books and short videos to long-form documentaries. We recommend G for Goualougo, an ABCs of the Zoo segment about our work and that of our partners in the Goualougo Triangle, which is situated in the Congo Basin.

2. Look for the FSC Logo on Products You Buy

One of the biggest threats gorillas face today is deforestation. This is often a result of development—logging or clearing the land for agricultural use. Unfortunately, in today’s urbanizing world it isn’t realistic to simply stop all the processes that benefit humans, even if they reduce the amount of usable animal habitat in the world.

That’s why one important thing you can do to support healthy forests. This can help a diverse array of species, including gorillas, and it’s easy to do. As you’re shopping, look for the Forest Stewardship Council logo on products you buy. When you see these items at the grocery store, you can rest assured that the companies involved have elected to support the sustainable management of forests.

3. Buy Sustainable Palm Oil

Palm oil is in a majority of the food, beauty, and cleaning products we buy, and the clearing of forests for palm oil plantations poses a severe threat to wildlife. However, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has been working to mitigate that threat. It has developed a set of voluntary criteria to ensure that certified, sustainable palm oil is being produced and sold, and many companies have joined the effort.

One way to make sure you’re buying products that use sustainable palm oil is to download the app PalmOil Scan from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It features a huge database of products so you can find out instantly if the product you want to buy is forest-friendly. Just scan the barcode, or use keywords to find the consumer item.

4. Recycle Your Old Cellphone

Cellphones and other portable electronic devices use a mineral called coltan. The mining of coltan contributes to the destruction of habitats that support gorillas. When you recycle your cellphone, the coltan in it can be reused. That reduces demand for new sources of coltan and also keeps the dangerous chemicals in your devices out of landfills. So where can you recycle your cellphone? One convenient place is inside Searle Visitor Center at Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo is part of the Gorillas on the Line program, so maintains a bin inside the building at the zoo’s East Gate that’s available year-round. you can bring your old electronic items in and drop them off. Not only does this help reduce demand for conflict materials, proceeds generated from the recycling goes towards conservation programs such as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Gorilla SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). This is another effective yet effortless act to help save gorilla habitats.

5. Spread the Word

Once you’ve learned more about the plight of gorillas in their native habitats, we hope you’ll be inspired to do more. And as you continue the same journey we’re on—learning to lower our negative impacts on the world while increasing the good—we encourage you to share what you know, either in conversation or over social media. This is a great way to reach friends and family and keep others in your circle aware of how you really can help at any level. It takes one small, conscious step.

Now that you’re fired up, we invite you to follow our social media channels and see (and share) relevant updates about the gorillas you love at Lincoln Park Zoo. Take Action With Us!

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