Happy Halloween boos and ghouls! As we get ready for trick or treating next week, it is important to not only wear our Halloween hats but also our conservation hat. What you might not know is that Orangutans in the wild are losing their rainforest homes due to clearcutting to plant palm oil plantations. Clearing rainforests to grow palm oil trees destroys critical habitat and has pushed some animals to the brink of extinction.
What is Palm oil? It is an edible oil that is found in many of the foods we eat, including some Halloween candy. Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. It easily blends with other ingredients, acts as a preservative, and is tasteless. Palm oil is used for cooking, and is added to many products like soaps, cosmetics, ice cream, cookies, chocolate, and frozen meals. About half of all packaged goods sold in US or European grocery stores contain palm oil.
Some companies are using sustainable palm oil and some are not. Not only do many everyday products contain palm oil, sometimes it is listed under a completely different name on the ingredients label. As consumers, we can use our buying power to encourage companies to use only sustainable palm oil. To help us buy wisely, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has made a great app that helps consumers make smart choice at the grocery store to help save orangutans and many of the other animals that share their home. So please down load the app so that you can enjoy Halloween and help save orangutans at the same time.
Also, as you are trick or treating at the zoo or around your neighborhood please remember to pick up your candy wrappers. The wrappers are dangerous to both our zoo animals and native wildlife. So be mindful, be safe and look out for ghosts!