The Eastern Lowland Gorilla: Saving the Victims of Coltan


Amy Costanzo


This article addresses the demand for coltan and the effects of this demand on the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, a species of great ape residing largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, home to greatest coltan reserves in the world. The growing demand for coltan has had a devastating effect on this animal, which includes habitat destruction, gorillas being killed for bushmeat, and baby gorillas being orphaned or sold as pets.

It addresses the international agreements, including CITES and the Convention on Biological Diversity, that have already been passed in an effort to help save the Eastern Lowland Gorilla, among other species of animals, and suggests ways in which these existing agreements can be modified to more accurately address the current problems.

Finally, it suggests the creation of a new international convention specifically addressing coltan and the countries that mine it and export it, as well as the companies and countries which purchase it. It suggests ways in which the U.N. can assist African nations in developing their economies through coltan in a legal and more manageable manner.


Environmental Law | International Law

Date of this Version

August 2006