DZG has highlighted the major palm oil threat to critically endangered orangutans, with some hard-hitting enrichment during International Orangutan Day and donated £500 to help save the species.
Palm oil is an ingredient found in a variety of everyday household items and to reinforce the conservation message and help visitors identify the kinds of products it can be found in, Senior Primate Keeper, Jodie Dryden, made some orang-friendly enrichment games for Sprout and Jazz in the form of some of the palm oil culprits.
During a special one-off talk on the awareness day, the orangs were given a giant lipstick, ice cream, pizza and chocolate bar, all made out of cardboard and tissue paper, as well as plastic toiletry bottles, which had some of Sprout and Jazz’s favourite treats hidden inside.
Jodie said: “Although it was all fun and games for the orangs, who soon got stuck into the items we gave them, it had a serious message as deforestation for palm oil plantations has caused the loss of over 80 per cent of the orangs’ natural habitat.
“It was good for visitors to see for themselves some of the items palm oil is found in and learn more through our information stand, so hopefully they went away with the knowledge they need to check their weekly shop for sustainable palm oil items and not the kind that are threatening these incredible animals.”
As well as raising vital awareness about the great ape species, which is facing possible extinction within the next 20 years, we also highlighted the important work of the Orangutan Foundation, which is working with the local communities in Borneo and Sumatra.
Through a meet and greet raffle which was won by Judith Hoyland from Manchester and name the cuddly orangutan game, we raised £220.08 for the UK-based charity, which DZG has rounded up to £500 from zoo funds.
Thank you to everyone who donated and came to find out more about this magnificent species.