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.
What is Palm Oil?
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.
Why is this an issue?
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.