We are setting the scene for this year’s popular Boo at the Zoo celebration which includes more than three tons of sweet treats for kids. From to M&M’s to Tootsie Roll Pops, this year’s candy offerings have more in common than high sugar levels - they are all made using sustainable palm oil. The Zoo is proud to continue our commitment to saving wildlife by only offering candy made with sustainable palm oil. Why is this important? Read below.
Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil on earth. Ice cream, margarine, shampoo, lotion - nearly 50 percent of all supermarket products list it as an ingredient. It is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree and though native to Western Africa, palm oil trees can grow in any low lying, tropical climate. Commercially, roughly 86 percent of palm oil is grown in the rainforests of Borneo.
Global production of palm oil has doubled in the last ten years. To meet the demand, new plantation farms are developed and existing ones are expanded. As the native habitat is cleared to make way for the plantations, the homes of thousands of species – including Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, white cheeked gibbons, spider monkeys and rhinos – are destroyed. This deforestation has had devastating consequences particularly on the orangutan population. Many believe that at the current rate of deforestation, wild orangutans could be extinct in as little as 20 years.
The good news is that there are massive efforts underway to build a palm oil industry that does not negatively impact native environments. Many companies are making the commitment to wildlife by using palm oil from designated sustainable spaces.
This Halloween, join the Zoo by only purchasing palm oil-friendly candy for your trick-or-treaters. Our friends at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo have made it easy for you with a handy Halloween candy guide. To find out even more ways to stop the palm oil crisis by, visiting the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil.
Whether you’re available for a day or are looking for a long-term volunteer opportunity – you can make a valuable contribution to the Zoo’s volunteer team!
Nashville Zoo relies on your support to continue providing extraordinary animal care and education programs for the community, as well as our critical conservation initiatives.