Make no mistake about it, the Houston Zoo is serious about saving animals in the wild. Sometimes, it can seem difficult to save animals that live in Africa or Asia from our homes here in Houston, but don’t you fret-I’m about to tell you how you can do exactly that by simply joining our Action for Apes Challenge and recycling your old cell phone.

chimp grass

What in the world is the Action for Apes Challenge?

A yearly contest put on by the Houston Zoo to see which local Houston school, scout group, community group, organization or business can recycle the most cell phones by the end of APE-ril.

What do we get if our school/business/organization wins?

A HUGE one-of-a-kind painting done by the Houston Zoo’s chimpanzees! The winning group will be able to choose the paint colors to be used by our chimpanzee troop!

The 2013 Winners-Grady Rasco Middle School in Lake Jackson received this unique painting done by the Zoo's chimpanzees!

The 2013 Winners-Grady Rasco Middle School in Lake Jackson received this unique painting done by the Zoo’s chimpanzees!

Why do we recycle cell phones to save apes like chimps and gorillas?

Materials found in cell phones, laptops and cameras are mined in areas such as Central Africa, which happens to be where animals like chimpanzees, gorillas and okapis live. When the materials are taken from animal habitats to be used in electronics, the homes of chimps, gorillas and okapis become disrupted and these animal populations decrease. If you recycle your old cell phone with us, then the materials in the phone can be reused instead of getting new minerals from the ground in Central Africa.

How do I get my school, business or organization started?

Just check out our Action for Apes website and follow the steps to get started. Each group will need to complete the registration form found on that page before they can begin.

Is the Challenge difficult?

No way! Saving animals in the wild has never been easier! Just follow these simple steps and your group could be walking away with a one-of-a-kind painting as the 2014 Action for Apes winners in just a few months…

1. Register your group online.

2. Promote the challenge in your school/business/organization. Get others excited about recycling cell phones and saving apes!

3. Collect cell phones!

4. Ship your box (or boxes) of cell phones to the company Eco-Cell by April 30th, 2014 (don’t worry-we’ll send you a shipping label, so it’s easy and free!).

gorilla 2

That’s it! How could you not join our 2014 challenge? Our chimpanzees (and future gorillas) could never thank you enough for your participation! Questions? Contact conservation@houstonzoo.org.