Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book



Conscious consumers now have yet another reason to question the palm oil industry. In addition to their deleterious impact on orangutans, tigers, indigenous communities, and forests, palm oil plantations are now suspected in the deaths of seven Sumatran elephants.

Officials first discovered the deceased elephants just outside Tesso Nilo National Park in Riau, Sumatra, on February 21. As Eyes on the Forest reports, the elephants’ bodies were found close to each other, often a sign of poisoning. Although the six male elephants’ tusks had been cut off, officials do not suspect ivory poaching as the primary motivation behind these deaths. They instead believe that illegal palm oil plantations sought revenge on the elephants for disturbing their land.

These illegal plantations, which have replaced the elephants’ native forests within the park, are seen as enticing food by the elephant population. Angry plantation owners often retaliate by injecting toxic substances into fruits or spreading it on leaves. These poisons are not difficult to obtain—palm growers can purchase them in over 30 shops around the park.

The murder of elephants in and around Tesso Nilo National Park has increased dramatically in recent years. The WWF-Indonesia database indicates that more than 100 Sumatran elephants have died in Riau province since 2004, including 15 deaths in 2012 alone. These deaths are especially devastating as the IUCN Red List lists Sumatran elephants as Critically Endangered.

“If forest loss and elephant killings do not slow down, Tesso Nilo’s elephant population might go extinct in less than 10 years,” warns the Eyes on the Forest report. EoF has called on palm oil companies to stop purchasing illegally grown fruit, while the WWF has asked the Indonesian government to identify and prosecute the elephants’ killers.

“Every finding of unnatural death of protected animal should be responded immediately action by the authority such as thorough investigations and when applicable prosecution,” said Sunarto, a WWF-Indonesia species expert. “The unnatural death of every individual of key species like Sumatran elephant should be considered as the loss of state’s assets, especially the Sumatran elephant that is already in its critical condition due to human pressures and neglect.”

As indictments against the palm oil industry continue to mount, many consumers are voicing their concerns by refusing to purchase palm oil that negatively impacts the welfare of animals, humans, and the environment. Vote with your wallet by consulting our guide that rates companies’ use of palm oil.

Image source: Grey Willis / Wikipedia Commons

Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

FINALLY! Major Animal Agriculture Companies Are Being Fined for Destroying the Amazon

Rescued Dog Who Wore Away His Teeth Trying to Chew Through His Chain Desperately Wants His Freedom

Woohoo! Scotland’s Animal Circus Ban Is Finally in Action

WOW! Study Finds Majority of Whales Found Dead in the Mediterranean Were Killed By Our Plastic Trash

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

26 comments on “Now Palm Oil is Also Killing Indonesia’s Elephants”

Click to add comment
Stefani A McDade
4 Years Ago

Palm oil is basically the shark fin soup of vegan foods.

Karen Rothfuss
4 Years Ago

I quit using it in my soap making many years ago when I learned about this.

Ivy Koerner Ellis
4 Years Ago

Cocoanut and olive oil only.

Mary Anne Gardner
4 Years Ago

Boycott Palm Oil!!!

Spoon Somatic
4 Years Ago

Solution: buy as local as you possibly can. Palm oil is not the only food we are raping our planet for. The only way to avoid this is to KNOW where your food comes from. It takes work, but we can all find a big chunk of what we eat locally. It doesn't always mean only shopping at a farm either, you can find out where stores get things from and support the places that local farms stock :D

Eveleen Gai Hubbard
4 Years Ago

Stay out of the supermarket for food - go to the green grocer & bulk health foods store for grains legumes pulses nuts & seeds as nature intended!

Mark Broadhurst
4 Years Ago

It responsible for massive deforestation and orangutangs habit to

Serena Reid
4 Years Ago

Please contact companies that use it and ask them to stop.

Andrew Gunnyon
4 Years Ago


Hemp Foods For Me You & Suzie Q
4 Years Ago

The only sustainable palm oil to buy is from Nutiva.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on

Do Not Show This Again


Submit to OneGreenPlanet

Terms & Conditions ×