DOES PALM OIL CULTIVATION HARM WILDLIFE?

Oil palm plantations provide a stable home for dozens of wildlife species. Unlike annual oilseed crops, such as canola and corn which need to be cleared up to twice a year, oil palm trees grow for nearly 30 years before needing to be replaced. This provides a lush, stable ecosystem for many different animals including long-tailed macaques, collared kingfishers and wild pigs.

Malaysia, one of the world’s largest producers of sustainable palm oil, is also recognized as the one of the world’s megadiverse countries by the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity.  Borneo, Earth’s third-largest island, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brueni, is home to hundreds of mammal, bird and amphibian species, and thousands of exotic plant species.

Fact: More than 11,000 orangutans live safely in Sabah, on the northern tip of Borneo. Malaysia’s Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, a renowned leader in orangutan care, was established more than 50 years ago. It was the first center to return orangutans to the wild. Reports that the Malaysian palm oil industry is responsible for a declining Sabah orangutan population are misleading as they refer to a loss in a specific region only. The overall Sabah orangutan population has been stable for more than fifteen years thanks in part to palm oil industry initiatives. Learn more.  

Many in the palm oil industry have gone to great lengths to protect their native wildlife. A few initiatives they have undertaken:

  • The Malaysian palm oil industry has partnered with the Malaysian government on the establishment and operation of the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF). The MPOWCF participates in highly effective conservation efforts throughout the country, such as funding an orangutan population survey which identified and mapped key habitats to better protect these majestic creatures.
  • The MPOWCF also partners with the Sabah Wildlife Department on the Wildlife Rescue Unit, which is active in conservation as well as translocation of wildlife impacted by human-wildlife conflict. These teams monitor protected wildlife and help any in need.Conservationist and journalist Aaron Gekoski’s work with the WRU has been documented in the TV series Borneo Wildlife.
  • Not stopping with orangutans, the MPOWCF also provided major funding for the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • To help elephants move safely from rainforests to other protected lands, Malaysian conservationists have created special elephant corridors. These wide swaths of protected lands help elephants move freely around the tropical country.

The best solution for protecting our wildlife and rainforests is to support stronger standards and beef up enforcement of already existing laws and legislation

One way this can be done is by supporting the global use of certified sustainable palm oil, which is produced in compliance with stringent laws protecting wildlife, the environment and small family farmers.

Oil palm plantations provide a stable home for dozens of wildlife species. Unlike annual oilseed crops, such as canola and corn which need to be cleared up to twice a year, oil palm trees grow for nearly 30 years before needing to be replaced. This provides a lush, stable ecosystem for many different animals including long-tailed macaques, collared kingfishers and wild pigs.

Malaysia, one of the world’s largest producers of sustainable palm oil, is also recognized as the one of the world’s megadiverse countries by the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity.  Borneo, Earth’s third-largest island, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brueni, is home to hundreds of mammal, bird and amphibian species, and thousands of exotic plant species.

Fact: More than 13,000 orangutans live safely in Sabah, on the northern tip of Borneo. Malaysia’s Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, a renowned leader in orangutan care, was established more than 50 years ago. It was the first center to return orangutans to the wild.

Many in the palm oil industry have gone to great lengths to protect their native wildlife. A few initiatives they have undertaken:

  • The Malaysian palm oil industry has partnered with the Malaysian government on the establishment and operation of the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF). The MPOWCF participates in highly effective conservation efforts throughout the country, such as funding an orangutan population survey which identified and mapped key habitats to better protect these majestic creatures.
  • The MPOWCF also partners with the Sabah Wildlife Department on the Wildlife Rescue Unit, which is active in conservation as well as translocation of wildlife impacted by human-wildlife conflict. These teams monitor protected wildlife and help any in need.Conservationist and journalist Aaron Gekoski’s work with the WRU has been documented in the TV series Borneo Wildlife.
  • Not stopping with orangutans, the MPOWCF also provided major funding for the Borneo Elephant Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • To help elephants move safely from rainforests to other protected lands, Malaysian conservationists have created special elephant corridors. These wide swaths of protected lands help elephants move freely around the tropical country.

The best solution for protecting our wildlife and rainforests is to support stronger standards and beef up enforcement of already existing laws and legislation

One way this can be done is by supporting the global use of certified sustainable palm oil, which is produced in compliance with stringent laws protecting wildlife, the environment and small family farmers.