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Be a Hero

You can help save animals here in Texas and all over the world! Here are just a few ways to take action and protect wildlife.  And remember, every time you visit the Houston Zoo a portion of your ticket proceeds go towards saving animals in the wild! So, a simple zoo visit is a great action to take to protect wildlife!

Wipe for Wildlife


Did you know that the average household uses 120 rolls of toilet paper each year? 27,000 trees are cut down every single day to provide toilet paper for the world. These trees are important habitat for animals like chimpanzees, wombats, and black bears.

The Houston Zoo only uses toilet paper made from recycled paper, and you can help animals by doing the same!


Be a Hero-Recycle Your Cell Phone & Save Apes!


Challenges of Cell Phones/Electronic Waste:

There are more than 250 million cell phone users in the United States alone, and average lifespan of a cell phone is 18 months. That means there are A LOT of cell phones being produced to meet our demand. Each cell phone requires specific metals to be manufactured. One metal used in cell phones (tantalum) is found in Central Africa-a rainforest home to animals like chimpanzees, gorillas, okapis and mandrills. If we recycle cell phones and other electronics like cameras and laptops, the materials taken from wildlife habitats can be reused, allowing those habitats to be protected.

The mineral coltan is taken from places where animals like chimpanzees and gorillas live to be used in our electronics, especially cell phones.
Materials used to manufacture cell phones are taken from places where animals like chimpanzees and gorillas live.

How the Houston Zoo Helps:

  • We send recycled cell phones to a company called Eco-Cell that sells the individual parts of the phone so that they can be reused. Any proceeds then go to conservation efforts to save animals in the wild.
  • The Houston Zoo has recycled approximately 7,862 cell phones to date!
  • We work with and help support projects in Central Africa which are dedicated to saving animals like gorillas, chimpanzees and okapis.

How You Can Help:

  • Be a Hero & recycle your old cell phone with us! If you do, the materials in the phone can be reused instead of getting new minerals from the ground in Central Africa. Just stop by the recycling bin by Guest Relations and drop your phone in!

Recycle Your Cell Phone

  • Wait as long as possible to get a new phone, or buy a refurbished phone!doyourpart
  • Are you a school, business or organization and want to recycle old phones on a big scale? Join us for our yearly Action for Apes Challenge beginning in January, 2015!
  • Mail your cell phone to us if you can’t make it to the Zoo! Houston Zoo, Inc. Attn: Cell Phone Recycle 1513 Cambridge Houston, TX 77030

Before donating your phone(s):

Make sure you terminate your service or switch your contract to a new phone.
Clear any personal data from the phone by removing the SIM card or manually the information. On most cell phones, you can find “Reset Phone” under “Phone Settings.”
Turn your phone off, if your phone’s battery is still charged.

Why Recycle Your Cell Phone?


Be a Hero-Reduce Your Use of Plastic & Save Sea Turtles!


Challenges of Plastic Pollution:

  • There is roughly 315,000,000,000 pounds of plastic in our oceans right now.
  • The average American will throw away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • Plastic bags are petroleum-based and do not biodegrade.
  • 100,000 marine animals die each year from eating plastic pollution in our oceans.
  • Sea turtles and other marine creatures mistake plastics and other garbage as food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This causes blockages within their digestive system.

How the Houston Zoo Helps:

  • We participate in beach clean ups to remove plastic trash and we recycle fishing line
  • We help with weekly beach surveys on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula (~80 miles of beach)
  • We provide medical attention for stranded and injured sea turtle found on the Texas coast.
  • We hold some injured sea turtles at our Kipp Aquarium until they are healthy enough to be released.

How You Can Help:

  • Be a hero-use biodegradable garbage bags and pet waste bags! They break down naturally, and don’t leave harmful chemicals behind.
  • Visit the Houston Zoo-a portion of every ticket purchased goes towards saving animals in the wild!
  • Be a hero-avoid using plastic! Buy a reusable water bottle and reusable canvas grocery bags instead of the plastic alternatives. By Using a canvas bag you can eliminate the use of 1,000 plastic bags!
  • Visit the Houston Zoo’s Gift Shop and purchase the sea turtle canvas bag pictured below. Proceeds go towards sea turtle saving efforts in the wild!

seaturtlebagSea Turtle Release-0001-8798 (1)


Be a Hero-Choose Your Products Wisely & Save Orangutans!


Challenges of Palm Oil:

The Palm Oil 411: Palm oil is a product that is used in everyday items like soap, shampoo, snacks, etc. Many palm oil plantations take over homes for animals like orangutans. Some companies work to protect wildlife while farming palm oil, others do not. The ones who set aside space and resources for wildlife we refer to as “sustainable”.

How the Houston Zoo Helps:

  • We support projects in Borneo that are directly working with local communities (including palm oil plantation employees) to reduce the impacts of this product on animals like orangutans, elephants and clouded leopards.
  • To save orangutans and other wildlife we will tell you all about the awesome organizations that use no palm oil, or use the sustainable stuff. And, we’ll challenge you to eat healthier and live healthier by doing some of the how you can help actions below.

How You Can Help:

  • Be an Orangutan Hero and buy products with less than 10 ingredients!
  • Buy/use/eat products that contain ingredients you can actually pronounce!
  • If you buy products that contain palm oil, check to see if those companies are part of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). If they are not, write a letter to the company encouraging them to join.
  • Support companies that are doing things right! Need to buy some makeup or beauty products? Avon is part of the sustainable palm oil companies.  Maybe you’re in the mood for some junk food? McDonalds and PepsiCo are on the sustainable palm oil train.
  • Visit the Zoo in November for our Orangutan Caring Week events! Every time you visit the zoo, the purchase of your admission ticket saves animals in the wild.

Palm Oil Orangutan

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