Thought-provoking statue unveiled

We’ve revealed a thought-provoking new statue to help highlight the plight of the critically endangered Bornean orangutan.

We’ve once again joined forces with local sculptor, Luke Perry, to create the large-scale steel artwork as part of our engaging visitor interpretation around the new outdoor orangutan enclosure.

Zoo Director, Derek Grove said: “As part of our themed interpretation around the enclosure we wanted various striking elements to help reinforce our conservation messages to visitors about palm oil, deforestation and the sad plight of the species.

“Having collaborated with Luke back in 2020 on the giant steel lemur statue in Lemur Wood, we’ve witnessed first-hand how that artwork has been a great conservation talking point for visitors and we’re sure this piece of art will prove just as popular.”

Featuring 100 steel poles, 97 of them cut off to symbolise the devastating effects of deforestation, mostly due to palm oil plantations, the sculpture, which has taken six months to complete, depicts a female Bornean orangutan who has been separated from her baby.

Unveiling his work to visitors, staff and media, Luke Perry, of Industrial Heritage Stronghold, said: “It’s a sad statistic that there is only three per cent of the orangutans’ habitat left. The 97 short columns in the ground show how much habitat has been lost, with only three poles left.

“A mum orangutan is clinging to two of the remaining tall columns, trying to reach her child who is on the third, but is just out of reach.”

Derek added: “Luke’s latest artwork will certainly get visitors stopping in their tracks and we hope, in conjunction with further signage around the enclosure about  palm oil and information on ways we can help, then taking action against the extinction of this magnificent great ape.”

But how can we help here in Dudley…?

With many of our favourite tasty Christmas treats, such as mince pies, Christmas puddings and biscuits containing palm oil, why not download a new mobile phone app and check if your festive fare is as fair as possible this year! 

Developed by Chester Zoo in collaboration with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and palm oil experts from Auckland Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the PalmOil Scan app allows shoppers to scan product barcodes and see how major manufacturers are sourcing their ingredients.  Download it now from your app store and give it a go!

Alternatively, ensure your weekly shop includes sustainably sourced palm oil, by looking out for the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) Trademark or Rainforest Alliance logos on packaging, which mean the product’s ingredients will have been responsibly sourced and therefore not only benefits the environment but also local communities and farmers. 

If we can all make one change, we can make a difference together!