Erie Zoo News & Updates

Palm Oil Crisis

Posted on June 20th, 2018 at 7:16 PM
Palm Oil Crisis

What you should know

There are two different types of orangutans: Bornean and Sumatran.

Orangutans depend on the rainforest for their home and their food.

Orangutans are endangered and there are less than 7,300 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild and about 45,000 Bornean.

Their biggest threat is NON-sustainable palm oil farming. This could cause the extinction of orangutans in the wild in the next 10-15 years without your help.

What is palm oil?

It is a type of vegetable oil. It is found in many foods, so you probably eat it every day. It is also found in some bath products.

Palm oil comes from West Africa, but can grow in other tropical climates. Most oil palms are grown in the islands of Borneo and Sumatra which are the only two places in the world where orangutans live.

Palm oil is not something that is part of a rainforest; it is a crop that was introduced. It needs a tropical climate to grow. Therefore many rainforests are being cut down in order to plant more oil palms.

The palm oil plants can produce 5 to 10 times as much vegetable oil as soy or other plants farmed in the same amount of space.

The way palm oil is grown makes all the difference.

There is a special group call the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). They make sure that palm oil is grown in a way that is sustainable and does not hurt the rainforest or the animals that live there.

5 Easy ways you can help make a difference for wild orangutans.

  1. Give 1 shopping guide to your parents when they go to the grocery store.
    Download a shopping guide here!
  2. Write 2 U.S. Legislators to tell them you care about protecting rainforests and the orangutans and people who live there.
  3. Recycle 3 types of paper products like paper, cardboard and paperboard (like cereal boxes) everyday to reuse paper.
  4. Write to 4 companies using palm oil that are not part of our shopping guide and ask them to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and promise to use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).
  5. Tell 5 friends about how you are helping orangutans and ask them to do the above 4 steps.