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Gorilla birthday - Kanzi's wish list

14 March 2017

Kanzi celebrated her second birthday this morning, sharing her party treats with mother Kimya, father Otana, and ‘auntie’ Yuska.

Primate Keepers were well prepared for the party, with boxes for Kanzi to open and play with, goodies such as nuts and sultanas, and an icy birthday cake.

But they’re hoping that Victorians will come to the party with some special gifts.

What makes a good gift for a gorilla? 

Primate Keepers are keen for Kanzi’s birthday celebrations to send a serious message: a reminder that those old and unused mobile phones lying silent in bottom drawers in kitchens or desks around Victoria can be put to a very good use.

Primate Manager Harna Burton explains that it’s not Kanzi who needs these older model phones, it’s her wild cousins in Africa.

The Zoos Victoria community conservation campaign They’re Calling on You is recycling phones that have been replaced by updated models to raise funds to support veterinary care for gorillas in the wild.

Proceeds are helping fund the Gorilla Doctors, working in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

They’re Calling on You was launched at the Zoo in 2008 by Dr. Jane Goodall, and her JGI Foundation also supports the work of the Gorilla Doctors.

Since Dr. Goodall launched the campaign, more than 150,000 phones have been recycled through the program.

Recycling old mobiles also benefits gorillas indirectly by potentially reducing demand for coltan, which is mined illegally in gorilla habitat, a significant cause of population loss.

There are several places inside the Zoo for visitors to leave donated phones, and Zoo staff will be able to direct visitors to the closest dropoff point, including Reception and the Zoo Shops.

Visit the They're Calling On You page to download a mailing label to donate your old phones postage-free.