Orangutans Survival Threatened by Palm Oil
Consumption of palm oil, a vegetable oil found in one in 10 products on supermarket shelves, is driving the orangutan towards extinction, new research shows.
The "Oil for Ape Scandal", a report published by Friends of the Earth and orangutan conservation groups, concludes that without urgent intervention the palm oil trade could cause the extinction of the orangutan, Asia's only great ape, within 12 years.
Palm oil is found in bread, crackers, chips, margarine and cereals as well as personal care and beauty products such as soap and lipstick.
Ninety percent of the world’s palm oil exports come from the oil palm plantations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Most of these plantations are on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The same lowland forest that the oil palm industry favors for conversion to palm plantations is the only remaining habitat of the orangutan.
Mother and baby orangutan are both at risk as oil palm plantations take over their habitat. The report finds that almost 90 percent of the orangutan's habitat in Indonesia and Malaysia has now been destroyed. Some experts estimate that 5,000 orangutan perish as a result every year.
Sky World News - Report on Palm Oil and Orangutans
The demand for palm oil is rising in the U.S. and Europe because it is touted as a "clean" alternative to fuel. Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, and prices have jumped by almost 70 percent in the last year.
But palm oil plantations devastate the forest and create a monoculture on the land, in which orangutans cannot survive.
(ABC News "Palm Oil Frenzy Threatens to Wipe Out Orangutans" )
Indonesian and Malayan Wildlife Affected
100 years ago nearly 90% of Indonesia was rainforest. Even 50 years ago, it was still around 77% forested. Today forests have been reduced to less than half largely due to logging and palm oil plantations. Tropical rainforests provide a home for 70% of the world’s plant and animal species. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they are the only home for endemic tigers, rhinos, elephants and orangutan. Because these species require large amounts of un-fragmented rainforest to survive, it will be critical to explore ways of preventing further palm oil plantation development which would further fragment the remaining forests on these islands.
But palm oil is not the only danger for the orangutans.
Orangutan babies are cute and social, making them tempting as pets. To get young orangutans for this market, the mother is shot. It is estimated that for every orangutan that makes it into the pet trade 4 or 5 die. Some fall to the forest floor when their mother is killed, others succumb to human disease, malnourishment or maltreatment in the hands of traders.
That number does not take into account the adult females lost to the breeding population, often in their prime reproductive years. As forest is logged for development, other adult orangutans end up near villages, often drawn by cultivated fruit. They are shot as pests or taken for food, especially in years when the rice crops fail.
Orangutans are beautiful and kind animals, we all should be aware of the dangers that are threatening their existence and act to preserve it.
Information, action and a more conscious choice of shopping is the least we can do to help save their lives.
Please go through the material offered in this entry, i'm sure you'll be able to find a good starter kit to get to know more about palm oil and what it represents for the lives of thousands of orangutans.
WHAT CAN YOU DO:
- Action 1 & 2
- Action 3
- Buy Palm Oil Free Alternatives
- Australia Palm Oil Campaign
- Adopt an Orangutan
- Learn About the Palm Oil Threat
- Borneo Orangutan Survival International
- Borneo Orangutan Survival UK
- Organic Consumers Association on Palm Oil
- Orangutan Outreach
- Orangutan Foundation International
- Orangutan Foundation
- FOE - Orangutan Report
- Palm Oil Frenzy Threatens to Wipe Out Orangutans - ABC News
- Palm Oil Risks Orangutans Existence
- Ape Alliance - Action for Apes
- Palm Oil Crisis
- Palm Oil Workers Kill Orangutans
- WildLife @ Animal Voice - Links Archive
- Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation
- Sky World News - Report on Palm Oil and Orangutans
- ONE - Please Save Our Orangutans
- BOS "People of the Forest"
- Friends of the Earth - Orangutans Clip