I was both horrified and sadden by the BBC3 program Orangutan Diary
Orangutan conservation is in crisis. The world’s forests are disappearing at the rate of one football-pitch per second to full fill the demand for Palm Oil and the UK is the second biggest importer of palm oil in Europe!!!
The population of Asia’s only great ape is in steep decline. Already facing a multitude of severe threats from illegal logging to the pet trade, the Orangutan is now facing a new enemy – one that may drive it to extinction. The enemy is palm oil and the corporations linked to the palm oil trade, which include over 500 UK companies.
Palm oil is one of the world’s most popular vegetable oils. It is used in thousands of everyday products, from margarine and bread to lipstick and soap, and is consumed by over a billion people around the world. In the UK it can be found in one in 10 supermarket products.
90 per cent 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 very lowland forest that the oil palm industry favours for conversion is the only remaining
UK corporate irresponsibility
UK supermarkets all boast about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes but not a single one can guarantee that its palm oil is not linked to the destruction of orang-utan
The failure by hundreds of UK companies to stop buying palm oil from destructive sources provides a powerful example of UK corporate irresponsibility. The Company Law Reform Bill is a unique opportunity that must not be missed to help stop UK corporations acting so destructively.
Research by Friends of the Earth and the world’s leading orang-utan conservation groups has found that: • Oil palm plantations have played a significant role in accelerating deforestation in Indonesia. • In Malaysia, the development of oil palm plantations was responsible for 87 per cent of deforestation between 1985 and 2000. • The palm oil industry has set up 6.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations across Sumatra and Borneo but is responsible for the destruction of 10 million hectares in total of rainforest, an area five times the size of Wales. • Oil palm plantations could be responsible for at least half of the observed reduction in orang-utan habitat in the decade between 1992 and 2003. • Almost 90 per cent of orang-utan habitat has now disappeared. Some orang-utan populations have been halved in the past 15 years and from a total remaining population of less than 60,000, up to 5,000 may be lost each year. If this rate of decline continues the orang-utan could be extinct within 12 year.
We must do all we can do to help the threat to this wonderful animal. I’ve looked up Google to see who we might get in touch with if we want to help and found http://www.fauna-flora.org/species/bornean-orang-utan/ Please do all you can. Thank you.
Above is a 2 minute video of Steve Leonard and the team at the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation help Mama Abut and her baby, found starving in an oil palm plantation. With help from the foundation, both mother and baby are nursed back to health with the aim to release them back into their natural habitat. Great clip from series two of BBC natural history series Orangutan Diary.