While it is a myth that redheads are going extinct the same cannot be said about ginger primates, our dear cousins, the orangutans.
These beautiful mammals live in Indonesia and Malaysia on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, and their natural habitat, the rainforest, is under attack by farmers wanting the land to grow palm oil, an ingredient widely used in food and non-food items all over the world.
The farmers often see these ginger creatures as pests, and even offer rewards for them to be killed. In the past 20 years, they’ve lost 80% of their habitat.
If we continue at the current rate we are demanding and consuming palm oil, it is predicted that orangutans will be extinct within 25 years. To think that future generations will never see this beautiful animal is unfathomable. And it’s not just orangutans that are in danger – the Indonesian rainforest is home to other endangered species too, like rhinos and elephants.
There are several ways we can all help with the plight of orangutans, and to help save the ginger primates before they go extinct…
There are charities actively making a difference that you can support. Here are some to explore:
You can also make a difference by thinking about what brands you invest in when buying food and non-food products. If the demand for palm oil is lost then the market will collapse and money is a big influence.
It’s not as easy as you might think to cut palm oil out as it is present in so many products. Check the label for palm oil and if it’s in there, move on. Here is a list of some of the names used to list palm oil in products:
*Names with palmitate or palmate at the end are usually derived from palm oil
If it is too difficult to avoid palm oil altogether you can choose products by brands that are using sustainable palm oil plantation farms. These farms use already cultivated land and work in ways to minimise their impact to the natural environment. They will brag about their product being RSPO-certified, so look out for the logo on products:
You can also download an app to check which products and brands made the RSPO-certified list.