The single biggest threat to the survival of orang-utans is the unsustainable production of palm oil - an ingredient found in many packaged supermarket products.
Palm oil is found in about 40% of the products on supermarket shelves. Certified Sustainable Palm Oil is an alternative ingredient that is produced without harming local wildlife and communities. In 2009, Zoos Victoria launched it’s Don’t Palm Us Off campaign and research was done to assess the attitudes and knowledge of visitors and community regarding the conservation issue of unsustainable palm oil.
In 2013, Zoos Victoria launched the Zoopermarket at Melbourne Zoo and online. At the Zoopermarket, visitors can send a clear message via email to grocery manufacturers telling them that when it comes to palm oil, they want 100% Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.
As part of the ongoing Don’t Palm us Off campaign strategy, we need to ensure we maximise our success in driving community action. This requires repeated assessment of the knowledge of visitors and community regarding the issues.
To re-assess the visitor and community awareness of:
This is done through a written survey provided to visitors randomly over a number of days - including both weekdays and weekends.
Surveying will occur three times – before the opening of the Zoopermarket installation, briefly after the installation opening and again several months after the opening to see how these factors are changing over time.
Phase I: 92 visitors were surveyed in March 2013 prior to the opening of Zoopermarket:
Phase II: a further survey of 101 visitors was conducted after the opening of the Zoopermarket:
In both Phase I and Phase II, visitors rated the importance of protecting the orang-utan and its rainforest habitat very highly, with importance ratings of 93/100 and 90/100 respectively.
Primary researcher: Dr Elissa Pearson
Participating organisations: Zoos Victoria; University of South Australia