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The majority of the world’s supply of palm oil comes from the two Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Due to the fact that around 50 percent of the consumer goods we use here in the U.S. contain palm oil, incentive to clear forest and make way for palm crops is incredible high.
Sadly, in clearing tropical rainforests found in these areas, the palm industry has become the largest driver of orangutan extinction in Borneo and Sumatra. In the past 10 years, over 20,000 orangutans have been killed by palm oil production and as palm plantations expand and more forest is cleared, additional orangutans are added to this depressing statistic.
Driven out of the forest, orangutans are left without homes or food supply, so they are forced to nest in palm oil plantations. To palm producers, these animals are “pests” who pose a threat to their crops and are consequently killed on the spot.
The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) recently took in an injured female orangutan who had a staggering 40 shotgun pellets lodged all over her body. Both her legs and arms had been broken and she had been left for dead by her attackers. The injured orangutan was discovered on the Barunang Miri Estate, a palm oil company that is a subsidiary of Makin Group. In addition to her physical injuries, the orangutan was severely malnourished. The veterinary team at BOSF tried their best to save her, but she eventually succumbed to her injuries.
This orangutan is hardly the first to be saved from a Makin Group plantation. To date, they have cared for around 166 orangutans discovered on one of their properties. Because of their endangered status, orangutans are protected under Indonesian law, yet their lives are too often valued below palm oil.
Renowned orangutan expert, Dr. Birute Galdikas has stated, “If the orangutan goes extinct, it will be because of palm oil.”
Simply put, Makin Group needs to be held accountable for their reckless actions. Please sign this petition to demand action in asking the Central Kalimantan government to investigate the death of this orangutan and prosecute the individuals responsible for her death. Makin Group has continually been found culpable for the deaths of orangutans on their properties, it is time that these senseless and illegal killings came to an end.
You can also help obtain justice for orangutans by being mindful of your personal consumption of palm oil. Whenever possible, avoid snack foods and consumer goods that contain palm oil. Check out this guide for planet-friendly alternatives.
Image source: Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation