In these photos by Sutanta Aditya, we bear witness to the shameful destruction of the world’s orangutan capital, the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra. Sadly, orangutans are the innocent victims of high consumer demand for palm oil and the products that use it.
Palm oil is used in around 50 percent of all consumer goods. These products range from our food to our shampoo, making it both difficult to avoid and in constant demand.
Because of this demand, around 300 football fields of rainforest are leveled to make way for palm oil plantations every hour. This poses a major threat to orangutans, who as arboreal species, are dependent on the lush rainforest environment for their livelihood. They are left without a home, like this little guy.
Aditya said he wanted to highlight this issue because, “According to the IUCN, over the last 75 years the population of Sumatran orangutans has decreased by 80 percent.”
the area of rainforest across these islands has declined by over 80 percent in the past two decades alone due to palm oil production. Without trees for sustenance, orangutans are forced onto palm oil plantations where they are viewed as “pests.” They’re often shot point blank, like this orangutan’s mother, or captured and sold into the illegal wildlife trade.
Thankfully, some orangutans are saved and are receiving medical attention and rehabilitation.
It’s imperative that we work to save all orangutans; after all, if we continue at our current rate of palm oil production, scientists estimate they could be extinct from the wild in the next 20 years.
It’s time we take a stand once and for all. We can all make changes in our daily life to combat the cruel realities of the palm oil industry. By reducing or eliminating palm oil from our diets and refusing personal care items containing palm oil, we have the potential to save the life of this poor orangutan.
How You Can Help
- Learn how to cut palm oil out of your life by clicking here.
- Support organizations working on the ground to protect the orangutan’s native environment.
- Check out the work of these organizations that specialize in the rescue and rehabilitation of orangutans.
- Share this article and raise awareness!
All Image Source: Sutanta Aditya/Barcroft Images