Over the last decade, nearly 80 percent of deforestation in Sumatra has been driven by the expansion of oil palm plantations, destroying critical habitat for tigers. Estimates put the surviving population of Sumatran tigers at fewer than 400. As part of the Year of the Big Cat, we are asking our guests to join us in taking action for tigers!
Palm oil is the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. It is found in 50 percent of the packaged foods we eat. In addition to products like cookies, crackers, ice cream, chocolate candy, and breakfast cereals, palm oil is also a key ingredient in pet products, shampoos, soaps, lotions, and cosmetics. It is in your lunchbox. It is in your hair. You can certainly find it at home everywhere.
Some companies that have palm oil in their products are beginning to take steps towards deforestation-free palm oil, which means they are committing to not cutting down more tropical forests impacting the critical habitat of the Sumatran tiger, orangutans and other wildlife. You can join us in thanking these companies and asking them to share their progress by visiting the Zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls and participating in our Be a CATalyst for Change activities.
By Kristen Waldron, Director of Conservation Education/Integration