Wildlife charity highlights use of palm oil in orangutan plight

Huge areas of the Sumatran rain forest are being cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Credit: PA Images

Conservationists working for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust are encouraging people to stop using products containing palm oil, to help save endangered orangutans.

Huge areas of the Sumatran rain forest are being cleared at an alarming rate to make way for palm oil plantations.

As well as contending with the loss of their natural habitat, orangutans, which are considered a pest in palm oil plantations, are often killed by workers as they go in search of food.

Durrell says any surviving orphan Orangutan babies are sold as pets.

The same fate often awaits other forest animals, such as rhinos and elephants.

The conservation charity says palm oil is in half of all supermarket products, including food, cosmetics and cleaning products, and demand is expected to double in the next ten years.

In the wild, Durrell works with Dr Ian Singleton, an ex-Jersey Zoo keeper, who has set up the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme to provide rehabilitation and eventually reintroductions, for Orangutans that have been captured as illegal pets or harmed by forest fires.

The charity is now asking people to look at the ingredients in products they buy, avoiding anything that lists palm oil.

  • Learn More: The Ethical Consumer website has specific information on palm oil products.