Palm oil is found in a huge number of products found in your local stores. Although most people are unaware of its use as an ingredient, it is a serious conservation issue, especially since the majority of palm oil is non-sustainable. This means that most of this palm oil is not coming from farms but from forests. These forests are in places like Sumatra and India, important areas for tiger populations.
Tiger populations are dangerously low worldwide and are continuing to decline. There are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas than there are left in the wild.
Wildlife Safari is home to two tigers, Riya and Kemala. These sisters are four year old Sumatran tigers, the smallest subspecies. There are only around 300 individuals of this sub species left on earth and only six sub species of tigers left in the world. The rate of loss of this species is a serious concern, and palm oil harvesting is exacerbating the situation.
People have been attempting to mass-produce this palm oil by clear-cutting forests – decreasing animal’s habitats so fast that it is driving many species to extinction.
However, there is a sustainable way to produce palm oil that does not involve clear cutting forests, so it is important to do your research on what kind is in the products you use in your home. While this sustainable option is slowly increasing in populations, only about 10% of palm oil containing products currently use sustainable palm oil.
You can help forests from becoming clear-cut by choosing products that use sustainable palm oil – if that is what people are demanding, then companies will need to change their practices in order to meet their consumer’s preferences. There are free apps available that tell you which products are sustainable versus non-sustainable – check out which one is right for you!
Some products have also added a symbol on their packaging that lets consumers know that they can feel good about their sustainable choice.
If we can make the change to sustainably sourced palm oil we can help wild tigers to keep their homes. That would help keep tigers just like Riya and Kemala safe and happy!