Endangered Orangutans Gain From Eco-Friendly Shifts in Palm Oil Market

Oil palm plantations are a major threat to orangutans, but new initiatives for deforestation-free palm oil may help save them.

Orangutans face many obstacles, from commercial logging and mining to deforestation for pulp and paper. But Michelle Desilets, executive director of the Orangutan Land Trust, says that the "the conversion of forest for oil palm is the single greatest threat to [their] survival in the wild" in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

During the past 11 months, however, more than a dozen major producers, traders, and consumers of palm oil have pledged to produce, buy, or sell only deforestation-free palm oil.

Some 60 percent of the global palm oil trade (about 50 million tons, and increasing) is covered by these new forest-friendly palm oil policies.

"We're seeing the beginning of a bunch of dominos that are going to fall, and it's

DON'T MISS THE REST OF THIS STORY!
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19
SUBSCRIBE

Read This Next

'World’s worst shipwreck' was bloodier than we thought
World’s first ultrasounds of wild manta rays reveal a troubling truth
Titanic was found during secret Cold War Navy mission

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet