The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Palm Oil, Bad for The Orangutans and Humans

This month’s Animail from the San Francisco Zoo explains that tropical rain forests are being clear cut for palm oil plantations. Many forests in Indonesia and Malaysia have been burned and cut.

Wildlife that depends on the complex tropical ecosystem is damaged by loss of habitat. Natural habitat is diminishing for the orangutan. Malaysian tigers and elephants also suffer from decreased habitat. We all feel the effects of global warming that are exacerbated by global warming.

Palm oil is a saturated fat. Added to the diet, saturated fats are associated with risk of heart disease. However, palm oil is less expensive than healthier oils. It is used in many baked and fried foods.

Palm oil is also used in cosmetics. However, other oils can be substituted that do not have the adverse environmental impact.

Flying into eastern Borneo in 2003, the landscape was green as far as the eye could see. The hills were a verdant tapestry, interrupted only by meandering rivers and the city of Sandakan.

As the plane dropped lower, an alarming geometric pattern became apparent. What appeared to be jungle from several thousand feet was actually palm oil plantations. Virgin rain forests were burned on a daily basis to expand the plantations.

The biologists at Sepilok Orangutan Refuge explained that loss of habitat is the greatest threat to the orangutan. Each ape requires a many acres of undisturbed forest to supply its diet of fruit. Palm oil plantations are barren in comparison, supplying habitat for only a few small animals.

It was stunning to learn that habits of Americans could affect the future of Borneo rain forests. Products that we use everyday can accelerate the loss of habitat. Simple purchasing choices help determine the future of endangered species.

Photo of wild orangutan by Linda Kincaid.


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