Conservationists worldwide are shining a spotlight on the plight of orang-utans this week to draw attention to the continuing loss of their rainforest habitat.
The largest single cause of this forest clearing is for the purpose of producing palm oil.
The Zoo’s Don’t Palm us Off consumer campaign is continuing to achieve results by attracting community support for orang-utan conservation.
The Zoopermarket at the Orang-utan Sanctuary enables Melbourne Zoo visitors to see which Australian companies are using unsustainably produced palm oil, grown on land where Asia’s only Great Apes were living until it was cleared. Zoo visitors are also able to email manufacturers to express their views on the use of unsustainable palm oil.
So far, 4,500 emails have been sent to manufacturers from the Zoopermarket, and another 10,000 have been sent from the online Zoopermarket.
Already four major manufacturers have made time-bound commitments to switching from unsustainable palm oil: Goodman Fielder, Lindt & Sprungli, Peters Icecream, and Snack Brands Australia.
Last month Zoos Victoria introduced a resolution at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ annual conference, asking member zoos to support the production of sustainable palm oil. WAZA member zoos have more than 700 million visitors a year, so they have an excellent opportunity of providing information about the impact on wildlife of continued unsustainable palm oil production.
Zoos Victoria will present the success of the Don’t Palm us Off community conservation campaign at the AGM of the Roundtable On Sustainable Palm Oil, to be held this week in Medan, Indonesia.
Students from the Mirboo North Primary School visited the Zoo today to help launch Orang-utan Caring Week and were treated to an art class from award-winning wildlife artist Pamela Conder.