What is palm oil?
Palm oil comes from the fruit of the African oil palm tree and is grown all over the world in warm and temperate climates. Over half of our household products contain this commonplace oil, which is found in snack foods, shampoo, cosmetics, toothpaste, pet food, candy and even milk.
What’s the problem?
The tropical temperatures and nutrient-rich soils of Indonesia, Malaysia, Sumatra and many other habitats where endangered species live make these areas prime cultivation lands for palm oil production. To convert these properties to farmland, unsustainable farmers are destroying entire rainforests on the scale of 300 football fields every hour. These rainforests are homes to numerous endangered species such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers, Malayan sun bears and wreathed hornbills.
What can YOU do?
- Shop sustainable!
- Download the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s palm oil app for your smartphone and use it when you shop! This is an easy way to find out quickly if products use sustainable palm oil and support companies that harvest palm oil in a way that helps protect animals and their habitats.
- You can also look for these logos on products you buy. If you don’t find these logos on your favorite products, let the companies know! Write to encourage a switch to sustainable palm oil. If your favorite companies have already switched to sustainable palm oil, give them a public pat on the back on your own social networks.
- Spread the word to friends and family. Many people simply are not aware of the link between wildlife and unsustainable palm oil.
Why not just boycott palm oil?
This might seem like an effective plan, but encouraging sustainability is much better. Palm oil is found in so many household items that if we stopped using these products altogether, companies would find an alternative that might be even more detrimental to wildlife and wild places. Encourage companies to make the switch to sustainable instead.
What is Zoo Atlanta doing?
- Zoo Atlanta is a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil™ (RSPO).
- Zoo Atlanta actively participates in Species Survival Plan® (SSP) programs for Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, Malayan sun bears, Sumatran tigers and wreathed hornbills – all species in decline as a result of habitat destruction due to deforestation for palm oil plantations.
- Zoo Atlanta is a proud partner of the Ape Conservation Effort (ACE), and we work daily to raise awareness of the plight of orangutans and other wildlife facing population declines in Southeast Asia.
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