Orangutan News: Experts Plead for Australian Food Manufacturers to Reject Palm Oil

A critically endangered orangutan in the Jambi rainforest in Sumatra. Photograph: Karen Michelmore/AAP
A critically endangered orangutan in the Jambi rainforest in Sumatra. Photograph: Karen Michelmore/AAP

by for The Guardian

One of the world’s leading orangutan experts has called on Australian food manufacturers to speed up efforts to ditch unsustainable palm oil, warning that the situation “has never been so desperate” for the threatened primates.

Dr Ian Singleton, head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program, said the apes, with the Sumatran elephant, rhino and tiger, were facing a “major extinction event” due to plans to open up a critical reserve for logging and construction.

The vast Leuser ecosystem in northern Sumatra is the only place on Earth where orangutans, elephants, rhinos and tigers co-exist.

Despite this, the regional Aceh government has approved a plan to allow roads, palm oil plantations, logging and mining in the ecosystem. Construction work has started, despite objections put forward by the central Indonesian government.

Singleton warned the situation was “dire” for the threatened species, warning that the development plan would completely wipe out the Sumatran rhino, and leave just a few hundred orangutans.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of The Guardian and can be read in its entirety here.

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