Orangutan News: Palm Oil Kills Orangutans, but Can the Industry Help Save the Great Apes?

(Photo: Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo: Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images)

By John R. Platt for TakePart

Well, here’s a paradox: Palm oil plantations are notorious for destroying orangutan habitat on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra and pushing the animals to extinction. But the cooperation of the palm oil industry may be needed if there’s hope to prevent the same thing from happening to other great ape species, according to a new report.

“It took 30 years for palm oil to really embed itself in Southeast Asia,” said Doug Cress, program coordinator for the Great Apes Survival Partnership, a United Nations program. “It will take half that time in Africa. We’ve got to move quickly or we’ll lose a lot of important species.”

A new report from GRASP called Palm Oil Paradox argues that one of the keys to saving the world’s great ape species—two-thirds of which are critically endangered—is to enlist the aid of the most environmentally responsible companies in the $62 billion–a–year palm oil industry. Among the report’s recommendations are setting aside priority ape conservation sites called “no-go” zones and placing certified sustainable palm oil plantations right up against great ape habitats so the companies can safeguard their neighboring apes.

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

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