Donating mobile phones for wildlife conservation
What do school paramedics and Hellabrunn Zoo have in common? Hellabrunn Zoo is actively involved in the conservation of species - school paramedics in Bavaria also lend their support to conservation projects. Members of the local School Paramedic Association (Verein Schulsani e.V.) have recently donated 170 no-longer-used mobile phones to Hellabrunn Zoo.
The donation of the phones will help to protect the environment and wildlife in two ways: First, the zoo collects old mobile phones for recycling and uses the proceeds for wildlife conservation projects. In 2014, a total of 3,124 mobile phones were recycled for a good cause; and more than 8,300 units since the launch of the donation campaign in 2011.
Second, the recycling of valuable metals and other materials from old devices is an important measure for sustainable management. For example, every mobile phone has components made of tantalum, a rare metal that is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo - namely, right in the habitat of the gorillas and other endangered species. What remains is ravaged wasteland, in which the animals can no longer live. The recycling of the much sought-after raw materials therefore helps to preserve the habitat for many animals.
"We are regular visitors to Hellabrunn and find the idea of collecting mobile phones for the zoo a great way to do something for a good cause," says Melanie Rabenbauer, Chairman of Schulsani e.V., on the unusual donation by the association: "School paramedics are groups of volunteer pupils trained to perform first aid, under the supervision of a teacher, in case of emergency during the school day. Therefore, values such as responsibility and social commitment are part of our daily life. But we did not want this commitment to stop at the school gates. Helpfulness knows no bounds. That is why we have decided to mark our tenth anniversary by calling on our members to support Hellabrunn Zoo's wildlife conservation projects."
The commitment of the Bavarian school paramedics has even impressed zoo director Rasem Baban: "This campaign is a good example of how everyone can play a part in environmental and wildlife conservation. It shows how, even though we are in Germany, we can help projects in remote corners of the world, such as in Africa."
Visitors can donate their old mobile phone by placing it in the donation box in the Jungle House, opposite the Gorilla enclosure, or by giving it in at one of the Visitor Information Centers at Hellabrunn Zoo.