The rainforests across Indonesia and Malaysia are the natural habitat of many different species, such as elephants, tigers and orang utans.
In more recent years these incredibly important habitats have been destroyed and replaced with palm oil plantations.
What Is Palm Oil?
It is a very popular vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees which are grown mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Because of its versatility, palm oil is a very common ingredient that can be found in a wide variety of everyday food and household products, such as margarine, bread, chocolate, make-up, toothpaste and even cleaning products.
Palm oil is easy to produce and cheap to purchase. This has led to a large increase in the production of palm oil over the last 20 years.
Why Should Palm Oil Be Avoided?
The main problem stems from the fact that the oil palms grow exactly where the rainforests are located: low lying wet tropical areas. This has led to palm oil plantations replacing rainforest, effectively robbing indigenous people of their land and livelihoods. The destruction of rainforest can also be seen as a contributing factor to climate change.
How Does This effect Animals?
Species such as orang utans are arboreal, meaning they live in trees. The rainforest offers the perfect habitat. Baby orang utans stay with the mothers for the first seven years and during their entire life orang utans rarely come down from the trees.
At the current rate of deforestation, zoologists have predicted that orang utans will be extinct in the wild with five years and will only be found in reserves.
Help Make A Difference
The easiest way to help is to avoid buying products that contain palm oil. Previously, palm oil was described using a number of different terms on product labelling, however due to new legislation products that contain palm oil must clearly state “palm oil” on their packaging.
Newquay Zoo’s Mission
We make a concerted effort to purchase products that do not contain palm oil and have worked with our suppliers to produce palm oil free products. An example of this is Scottish company, Bronte, who supply palm oil free cookies.
We source most of our food, such as cakes and fudge, from local businesses, so we know exactly where it comes from.
Newquay Zoo, along with Paignton Zoo and the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, continue to lobby parliament to force UK companies to only produce sustainably farmed palm oil in areas where it is already grown, rather than continuing to destroy the rainforests.
If you would like to find out more information please visit saynotopalmoil.com
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