Primatologist Craig Stanford was interviewed about habitat threats to gorilla populations by a public radio station: “The Human Threat to Great Apes”:
Cell phones, like many other electronic devices, are built with capacitors, which require tantalum extracted from coltan. Eighty percent of the worlds coltan supply is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the heart of the remaining habitat of eastern lowland gorillas. With an increasing demand for electronics driving a worldwide hunger for coltan, miners in the DRC are polluting and consuming gorilla habitat while extracting the ore. Compounding the problem, miners hunt the apes for food. The situation is grim, and these gorilla populations will go extinct soon without a sustained effort to intervene.
Cell phones aren’t the most common devices with capacitors, but they certainly help to personalize the issue.