Donate a cellphone, save a gorilla

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Red Deer Rebels fans have the opportunity to help a young local girl who is trying to save African gorillas from extinction.

Hayley Cartwright, nine, will be collecting unused cellphones at the Red Deer Rebels playoff game against Edmonton Oil Kings at the Centrium on Saturday.

“Either you’re just leaving them around at home or you could reuse them to save that whole jungle and the animals there,” she said, encouraging people to bring their old devices to the game so she can recycle them.

The Grade 3 Mountview Elementary School student first learned that illegal mining in the Congo for an ore used to coat cellphones is killing gorillas when she went to summer camp at the Calgary Zoo in August 2010.

Hayley started collecting cellphones from the Red Deer community in February in an effort to save her favourite animal.

Her original goal was to gather a couple hundred devices to donate to the cellphone recycling program at the zoo.

With more than 800 contributed to her cause so far, she is now striving to collect 1,000 cellphones. Hayley thanked the community for all the support they have given her.

Lori Cartwright said her daughter’s success has been “mind boggling,” noting that the Calgary Zoo collected just over 2,500 cellphones in 2010.

Representatives with the zoo are impressed as well and have asked Hayley to challenge Calgary students to follow her lead, Lori added.

“They can try to achieve something and that will help the gorillas even more,” said Hayley, who is eager to inspire other students.

Hayley and Calgary Zoo representatives will have a booth in the front lobby of the Centrium on Saturday night. They will collect cellphones from 6 p.m. to game time. Public dropoff locations are also located at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, Z99 and 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

ptrotter@reddeeradvocate.com

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