Wellington Zoo has donated $2000 to OuTrop’s Forest Fire Appeal to help fire fighters overcome the fires from clearing practices at unsustainable palm oil plantations that are devastating the habitat for the diverse wildlife of Indonesia.
“The fires in Indonesia from unsustainable palm oil plantation clearing practices are devastating the wildlife and climate,” said Conservation Manager Daniela Biaggio. “We want to help the fire fighters on the ground to overcome the blazes to prevent further destruction and protect the rich biodiversity of this area.”
Three of Wellington Zoo’s conservation partners, 21st Century Tiger, TRAFFIC and Free the Bears, work to protect animals in the affected areas, including Sumatran Tigers and Malayan Sun Bears.
“While our conservation partners are always working hard to protect these endangered animals from threats such as illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and habitat destruction, the fires from the unsustainable palm oil plantations have created an immediate and critical impact,” said Biaggio.
“We have been supporting the work of Unmask Palm Oil to urge government representatives in New Zealand and Australia to demand clear labelling of vegetable oils on all food products. We know that the wild homes of critically endangered species are at risk from the deforestation caused by clearing for large palm oil plantations – which is made ever more dangerous by the current catastrophe in Indonesia.”
Mandatory labelling will help consumers to choose sustainable palm oil products – and, in turn, help the wildlife that rely on these wild habitats to survive. Boycotting palm oil is not a solution, as increasing demand on alternatives is likely to cause even worse deforestation.
“Along with Unmask Palm Oil, we support the use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO),” said Biaggio. “CSPO audit palm oil plantations and their supply chain to make sure they meet the environmental, social and economic standards as set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.”