4 Ways to Get Involved in the Fight to Save Gorillas

Written By: Scarlett Rockhold, Communications Manager at Zoo Knoxville

In honor of World Gorilla Day, I’m excited to share with you ways that you can get involved in the fight to save gorillas. Before learning about what you can do to help save this critically endangered species, it is important to first learn how they became so endangered. 

One of the greatest risks to the gorilla species is loss of habitat, and this is largely due to the public’s demand on everyday products. There are several highly used materials found in the regions that gorillas call home. For instance, minerals used to create electronic devices including your cell phone, can be  found in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo is home to several species of gorillas, including the Western Lowland Gorilla that can be found right here at Zoo Knoxville. The mining for these minerals has caused massive destruction to their habitat. Palm oil is another popular substance found in nearby regions and used in an exorbitant amount of products. The production of this too has caused drastic deforestation to the African forests that gorillas inhabit. 

The good news is there is important work being done to proactively save gorillas, and you can be a direct part in making a difference. Below are 4 practical ways you can help:


1. Recycle your electronic devices

Here at Zoo Knoxville, we make it easy for you to recycle your old electronic devices. All you have to do is drop off your devices to one of our two designated areas. One of our drop off sites is in the Ranger Station located near the ticket window, and the other is located at our Gorilla Valley Courtyard. Eligible devices include cell phones, tablets, and MP3 players. By recycling these electronics, the need to mine for the materials within them is reduced. We’ve all had old devices lying around and often wonder what to do with them. How great is it that by simply dropping it off at the Zoo, your unused device can contribute to the fight to save the gorillas? Just make sure to restore to factory settings beforehand!


2. Look for sustainable, Eco-friendly options when shopping for products that contain palm oil

Palm oil can be found in many products we use each day. These products include: soaps, cosmetics, margarine, ice cream, shampoo, cookies, and so much more. Palm oil plants not only cause deforestation, but they also cause pollution due to burning of the forests and fertilizers used etc. Zoo Knoxville has joined almost 100 signatories from around the world in a statement committing to drive the palm oil industry in the right direction. There are many companies dedicated to obtaining palm oil in a more eco friendly way and just by shopping for these sustainable options you can also join us in this mission. If you’d like an aid in helping you shop more sustainably, click here to learn more about Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s app created to help you do just that!


3. Become a member or visit an AZA accredited zoo

Because gorillas have become endangered and are losing their home in the wild, it is important for Zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to take part in the Species Survival Plan. This plan allows these accredited Zoos like Zoo Knoxville to not only provide a safe home and care for animals in Zoos, but it also allows them to maintain a healthy genetic population. By becoming a Zoo member, you become a Zoo Keeper yourself and join Zoo Knoxville in continuing our critical conservation work not only pertaining to our Western Lowland Gorillas but all of the animals in our care. To Learn more about the Species Survival Plan and the SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) programs, visit aza.org. 


4. Become an Ambassador 

In addition to providing wildly fun experiences for our guests, Zoo Knoxville also has a mission to educate and inspire, but it doesn’t have to end with us. Now that you know more about what is happening in the world of gorillas, you can share the information with your friends and family to inspire them to take action as well. It’s hard to imagine contributing to the species saving efforts of animals with habitats on the other side of the world, but there are practical ways that you can help from home. Just by sharing these tips mentioned above with others, you can become an ambassador for Gorillas and join Zoo Knoxville and other AZA accredited zoos in the largest conservation movement on the planet!