Stop Palming Off Our Orangutans

Headline Image – Orangutan

Palm Oil Tree

Chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans have been living for hundreds of thousands of years in their forest, living fantastic lives, never overpopulating, never destroying the forest. I would say that they have been in a way more successful than us as far as being in harmony with the environment.

Jane Goodall

Music – Mist


Stop Palming Off Our Orangutans

Humanity is not kind. It just knows how to destroy, kill and maim.

I lived in Malaysia as a boy [1968 – 1971]; my Father was stationed in RAAF Butterworth, and l was schooled in Penang. I have vivid memories as if only yesterday of the vibrancy of living there. I remember very clearly in class looking out of the windows or simply during lunchtimes to see primates – mostly macaques and langurs.

During my travels there as a youngster with my family, l was fortunate to observe Orangutans in their natural wild habitats – a beautiful species with magnificent stature and poise. Not many people today can say they have witnessed such wonder first-hand and not, for instance, in the likes of a sanctuary – but l can.

Do people today understand the word extinction when used, or do they think it is another word for a fashion fad or trend? I do wonder.

I know people who should be intelligent enough to comprehend the phrase ‘global warming and yet insist that it doesn’t exist. It is just another whimsical theory by tree-hugging do-gooders or conspiracist political usurpers!

Sadly, people believe what they wish to think; it has always been that simple – whether this is just fear or ignorance remains to be seen.

The simple facts are that the unsustainable palm oil industry is significantly reducing the numbers of Orangutans and killing them off!

The effect is catastrophic when hundreds of thousands of acres of rainforest are removed! This further threatens the planet’s biodiversity the ecosystems and, of course, decimates species’ habitats. 

The orangutan is one such species that suffer terribly, and although there are many mostly, it is this species that people recognise more.

This species is closely related to humans – sharing 97% of common DNA, yet industrial demands still insist on destroying them despite this. Nearly 30 years ago, globally, there were close to 320,000 of this beautiful species, and here we are today, and less than 57,000 exist in the wild. 

Experts believe that with the yearly losses estimated at 2,000 to 3000, this beautiful species could be extinct by 2080.

It would be too easy to blame the palm oil industry for its demise alone. Still, we cannot deny that it is just as responsible for a very high stake claim against them for the practices they continually carry out for profit. Logging, fires, poaching and hunting, and, as discussed, palm oil plantations all take their toll on the species.

The removal of the forests releases carbon into the air, which increases global warming. The topsoils now laid bare by the trees’ stripping soon become washed away in the rains, which then has the chain reaction of extracting the nutrients out of the soil that farmers need to produce high-yield crops, and so their ability to carry this out soon vanishes! 

With the earth so weak, fertilisers must be used, which damages a seriously damaged environment even more!

Of course, ultimately, we return to the whys of this whole situation. 

Well, it’s to do with demand, supply and greed! Society demands the products. The manufacturers react and supply. But greed, in truth, is from everyone. No one group is exempt from the profit margins.

Is there no way forward to this plight?

Of course. The demand for palm oil is massively huge. It will not get any smaller anytime soon, so what needs to be done, which ensures that the responsibility is not taken lightly, is the introduction and complete acceptance of ‘sustainable’ agricultural practices! 

Sustainable farming methods are the only way to efficiently maintain economic growth and performance. Still, more importantly, they do not further damage the environment nor kill off innocent species with more rights to be on the land than the profit farmers.

Suppose humankind wished to see the numbers of Orangutans improve. In that case, we need to continually encourage the local communities to introduce and promote the benefits of sustainable palm oil farming. 

Equally, consumers need to be more aware that they look out for sustainable palm oil products when they buy off the counter.

If there were no demand for palm oil, there would be no habitat destruction needed for plantations, and if there were no plantations, the fates of many species currently destined for extinction could be avoided.

Species Threatened by Unsustainable Palm Oil Productions

Orangutans are not the only species facing total decimation and extinction. Here are some others:

Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans [Critically Endangered]
Sumatran Elephant [Endangered]
Bornean Pygmy Elephant [Endangered]
Sumatran Rhino [Critically Endangered]
Sumatran Tiger [Critically Endangered]
Malayan Sunbear [Vulnerable]
If we wish for today’s children to see these beautiful species tomorrow, we need to start taking action because if we don’t, then the only way these animals will be seen ‘naturally’ is digitally. Not the most significant legacy to leave for the future.


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16 thoughts on “Stop Palming Off Our Orangutans

  1. This is such an important message my friend. I hope people reading this understand the implications of what we are doing. Everyone can play their part in preserving the environment and stopping climate change

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s is exactly the issue. I knew people over here a few years back who were not bothered, they were both in their seventies and basically suggested that they would soon be gone and it would be someone else’s problem, as long as it didn’t affect their lifestyle they didn’t care.

        They weren’t alone, many people believe and think this way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Working in a school as a teaching assistant, I am learning alongside the students about the rainforest being cut down, using machinery in a large scale, thousands of trees at a time. I don’t think people realise what is happening, or choose not to think about what is happening. It isn’t just palm oil. Farmers struggle with land given to them because it isn’t fertile enough, yet they still keep chopping down the trees. More education is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Diana, more education is needed for sure, but sadly we are living in an age of increased apathy from people who would rather stick their heads in the sand opposed to taking more action.

      That extends to governments as well and sometimes they are the biggest culprits.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, I do think, if there were more of an incentive to recycle more, it would happen. In the eighties we did more for the planet than we do now. We shopped on a daily basis, no food was wasted. Left overs were used up, not thrown away. We got our milk in glass bottles, used repeatedly. We didn’t have plastic packaging for our fruit, veg, meat. We know about plastic bags, but still make more of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And that is the ethos we should be returning Diana, l read this morning that people are discovering frozen because that has very little waste and discovering what their freezers are for, well l have always known that but many younger generation parents of today don’t and apparently didn’t.

        We are almost hitting a complete cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

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