October 16, 2014
Help protect endangered orangutans this Halloween!
While we specialize in the protection and study of gorillas here at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, we care about protecting all primates — including endangered orangutans. This Halloween, you can help protect them too, by choosing candy made by companies that participate in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
The population of orangutans has been in severe decline during recent decades, with estimates of about 5,000 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild and about 45,000 Bornean orangutans. The main threat to their survival is deforestation due to agriculture. According to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, every year millions of acres of rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra are cut down and the main crop that is planted is oil palm. Palm oil is an important crop but can be produced responsibly, without cutting down forests on sustainable plantations and without burning the land for clearing (during which orangutans may perish).
Palm oil production has reached new highs due to increased supply and demand for cookies, crackers, cosmetics and — you guessed it — candy. And unfortunately palm oil production may become a problem for African species such as gorillas in the future.
Luckily, many companies have begun developing sustainable palm oil production methods. These companies make a commitment to produce palm oil in a way that minimizes its effect on orangutans, other wildlife, indigenous people and our planet.
For a list of orangutan-friendly choices, download the Palm Oil Shopping Guide app and see which companies are members of the RSPO. Or, read here for more information: cmzoo.org/palmoil