Sunday, 9 August 2015

Cell phones are endangering gorillas and chipanzees

by Brian Galloway

Chimpanzees and gorillas are both critically endangered species, and believe it or not, one of the contributing factors to these primates’ ongoing struggle is the smartphone that you use every day, one conversation expert told National Geographic during a recent interview.

In the interview, author and conservationist Nancy Merrick explained that the capacitors used in cell phones typically contain Columbite-tantalite or Coltan, a black tar-like material that is found in the Congo and can be refined into a powder than holds an electric charge.

Coltan, which is also used in laptops and some other types of electronic devices, has reportedly caused a considerable amount of illegal militia activity related to its mining and seeing, Merrick explained. This activity has also helped spur on deforestation in the Congo basin, one of the main reasons why the chimp and gorilla populations are on the decline.

“We’re already seeing that where chimps and gorillas live near human habitats their forests are being rapidly converted to agriculture,” Merrick, who was being interviewed to promote her new book, told Nat Geo on Wednesday.

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