Orangutans Being Killed In Devastating Palm Oil Fires In Borneo

orangutans caught in forest fires

Forest fires are burning out of control in Sumatra and Borneo and one third of the world’s Orangutans are at risk in these tropical peatland areas.

Many fires are started deliberately at this time of year to clear land to make it suitable for palm oil and wood production. However the fires have now spread to national parks and are a serious threat to the already endangered populations of Orangutans (amongst other animals) that live in them.

Research by Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) found that previous forest clearances and fires have had a devastating impact on the local wildlife. For example in Sabangau, a national park on the Indonesian island of Borneo, at least 68 mammals, 167 birds and 218 different tree species are all at risk from the fires. Even if the forest’s animals escape the flames, the destruction of their habitat and the huge volumes of smoke the fires are creating pose major threats to their survival.

Read more at www.independent.co.uk

If you would like to help, you can donate to International Animal Rescue who are working around the clock to try to rescue these animals: www.internationalanimalrescue.org/donate

orangutans caught in forest fires

Image source: orangutan.org.uk

Superdrug: Sustainable Palm Oil?

palm oil plantation

We’ve been chasing UK based Superdrug for over two months to find out whether the palm oil in their own brand products is sustainably sourced. Below is their response; it seems that they have started the process of switching to sustainable sources but are not quite there yet:

“Thank you for contacting us to clarify our position on Palm Oil. Superdrug did scored low in the questionnaire you mention, this was because at the time we did not have a clear policy on Palm Oil and Palm Oil derived raw materials. We now have a clear commitment to switch to sustainably sourced palm oil or palm oil derivatives where these are commercially available.

Superdrug uses a very small amount of Palm Oil in its own brand products however we are committed to working with our suppliers to switch where possible, and have recently changed many of the products in our Vitamin E range so that they contain certified sustainably sourced palm oil derivatives. We will continue to drive this programme forward as more materials become available.”

Using unsustainable palm oil results in habitat destruction; the effects are instant and animals have no time to adapt. Unscrupulous suppliers kill endangered animals such as elephants, tigers and orangutans to remove them from their habitats more quickly. Recently 14 pygmy elephants were poisoned by chemicals used by farmers to keep animals from eating the palm fruit grown on their plantations.

Mother Orangutan Killed Trying To Feed Her Baby


A truly heartbreaking story has come out of a remote part of Borneo. A female orangutan with her infant were forced into the village of Peniraman due to a landslide. They also had a male orangutan with them.

The villagers cruelly attacked them and the male managed to flee, but the female was caught and attacked with sticks and rocks. Her infant was tied up and the mother was dragged over to pool of water, where the crazed villagers attempted to drown her. They then threw the mother into a cage with her infant and a jeering mob gathered, enjoying the suffering of the mother and child.

Fortunately at this point a vet from www.internationalanimalrescue.org was able to take the two orangutans with her for treatment. Despite hers and her team’s best efforts, the mother orangutan died due to oedema and haemorrhaging of the lungs.

The female was found to be very thin and orangutans will only approach a human settlement if they are starving and extremely desperate to find food.

The forest surrounding the village has been converted into palm oil plantations and any small patches of remaining woodland are occupied by humans. Deforestation in the area surrounding Peniraman has led to landslides of the small hills around the village, further shrinking the orangutans’ habitat and food supply. If orangutans venture into palm oil plantations they are killed and an orangutan would only enter a human settlement if it was starving and desperate. The female orangutan was subsequently found to be very thin and malnourished, so was clearly desperate for food.

There are still seven remaining orangutans living in unsuitable forests surrounding the village of Peniraman where this tragedy took place, including the male who came down to the village with the mother and Peni. IAR’s team is committed to doing everything they can to rescue and translocate all these orangutans as soon as they can raise sufficient funds to do so.

Please read the full story at www.internationalanimalrescue.org