In a scene straight out of the Lorax, an orangutan was found clinging to a single tree after its entire home was destroyed due to deforestation.
According to International Animal Rescue (IAR), a worldwide animal rescue and rehabilitation organization, the orangutan pictured was “stranded, starving and left to die,” before they rescued it. The organization found the orangutan in the demolished field in 2013, and was able to relocate her to a different forest.
“Thankfully, our team reached this orangutan just in time and were able to translocate her to safety.”
It is suspected that the reason behind this orangutan losing her home was deforestation caused by the palm oil industry. This is an industry that is booming in islands like Borneo and Sumatra, which also happen to be the primary habitats of orangutans, both species of which (Bornean and Sumatran) are now critically endangered.
Innumerable acres of forested area have been torn down to make way for palm oil plantations, leaving orangutans with even less habitat than they already have. Many of them die from starvation, or from coming in contact with humans in the area. Others have died from forest fires that have happened as a result of this industrialization.
“We are the last and only hope for orangutans in West Kalimantan, and the rainforest continues to be destroyed at an alarming rate,” IAR said. “We are busier than ever before, desperately working to protect the forest that still remains.”
Every hour, more than 300 football fields of forest land are being plowed in Southeast Asia and being replaced with palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in many common, everyday items such as:
- Instant Noodles
- Ice Cream
Palm oil also isn’t always listed on products as “palm oil”, as companies try to deceive their consumers into believing that they don’t use it. Some other names for palm oil include:
- Vegetable Oil
- Palm Kernel/ Palm Kernel Oil
- Sodium Kernelate
- Sodium lauryl lactylate
There are many other products using palm oil and misleading names for palm oil out there, a full list of which can be found here. If you want to support the livelihood of orangutans in Southeast Asia, you’ll make sure to avoid any products that contain palm oil.
For more stories about animals and animal welfare, click here.
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