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The ivory trade is often what we associate with elephants’ endangered status, but there are other equally destructive culprits. For Sumatran elephants, a species found in the forests of Southeast Asia, that offender may be resting a little closer to home in our kitchen cabinets. That’s because this species of elephant is subject to persecution and habitat destruction in connection with the palm oil industry.

Palm oil has quickly become the go-to ingredient in as much as half of all consumer goods we buy – from pie crusts and peanut butter to toothpaste and household cleaners. And as its usage expands, more and more land is required to grow the fruit from which this oil derives. As a result, it’s estimated that an area the size of 300 football fields is cleared in the Sumatran rainforests every hour in order for new palm oil plantations to take root.

These forests are the primary habitat for a number of endangered species, who, in addition to becoming homeless, are losing their sources of food and water and, ultimately, their means to survive. But as if that wasn’t torturous enough, they are also forced to deal with the heavy-handedness of profit-chasing palm plantation workers, who consider these animals pests.

For Sumatran elephants, wandering anywhere near a palm plantation in search of food or a secure resting place often results in physical harm or death, whether through poisoning or physical weaponry. Babies regularly become orphaned when their mothers are attacked, but industry workers take no issue in violating the youngsters themselves.

Skinny and starving, this baby elephant was recently rescued in Aceh,  Indonesia thanks to the efforts of BKSDA. The little one had been shot in the side, and while it is unknown who did this – this sort of action is not uncommon in the palm oil industry. 

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Luckily, the small elephant is now getting the care she needs to recover.

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It’s unclear whether she will be able to return to the wild, but with a lot of care and time, we can only hope this will be the case.

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Unfortunately, not all victims are as fortunate. Only around 1,300 Sumatran elephants remain in the wild, and their future becomes less and less secure as new palm plantations are planted each day. Organizations like BKSDA are doing everything they can, but the real key to stopping these wildlife crimes lies in our own palms.

We consumers have the power and choice to make the biggest difference for Sumatran elephants and their fellow endangered species because the existence of these palm oil plantations is at the mercy of our own purchasing decisions. Only when we consciously choose to purchase palm oil-free products will skyrocketing demand for this ingredient subside and the lives of Sumatran wildlife improve.

All image source: HAkA/Facebook

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0 comments on “Starving Baby Elephant Who Suffered Gun Shot Wound Shows the Cost of Our Cheap Snacks”

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john pasqua
3 Months Ago

GREAT CARING PEOPLE TO SEE AND KNOW THAT THE ANIMALS NEED HELP NOW FORM THE EVIL FOR PALM OIL INDUSTRY NEEDS TO END NOW.


Reply
Eirraca K
3 Months Ago

Thank you to those that are taking care of this baby and doing the right thing.


Reply
ACH369
3 Months Ago

Whether it\'s greed, entitlement, lack of knowledge, or just the simple fact of not caring, we have to make this stop...we have to put an end to it...this is not okay, not in any shape or form...why do these animals have to lose their home, their source of food, their very lives??? PLEASE, PLEASE,PLEASE DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITH PALM OIL IN IT...TELL THE COMPANIES WHO ARE WIPING OUT THE ANIMALS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT THAT WE DON\'T NEED WHAT THEY\'RE MAKING!!!
MAKE A STAND FOR THE ONES WHO HAVE NO VOICE...THEY MATTER GREATLY!!!


Reply
Raja
3 Months Ago

Its such a shame that these gentle beings who cannot speak for themselves are paying the ultimate price to satisfy human greed.


Reply
Christine Stewart
3 Months Ago

We should boycott all products made with unsustainable or "conflict" palm oil, and boycott companies that use these products (like Pepsi-Co)


Reply
Jeff Biss
3 Months Ago

There are simply too many horrible people. They need to be culled to protect their victims. Also, we need to reduce the human load by developing policies that coerce people to stop having kids, to drive our population to well below 2 billion. This is the only way to benefit all, including our nonhuman brethren.


Reply
Yvonne Orbeck
17 Jan 2017

I so agree with you Jeff...

Raji
17 Jan 2017

I totally agree with you Jeff Biss:)))



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