A Letter from the Director of Orangutan Outreach

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I opened my inbox and found a message from Mr. Richard Zimmerman, Director of Orangutan Outreach, in response to my palm oil discussion. It was a comment on my blog, but I wanted to share with everyone on this Earth Day:


Hello-- Thank you for giving so much attention to the palm oil issue!

The palm oil industry is guilty of the most heinous ecological atrocities imaginable, including the systematic genocide of orangutans. The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are the only place where these gentle, intelligent creatures live, and the cultivation of palm oil has directly led to the brutal deaths of thousands of individuals as the industry has expanded into previously undisturbed areas of rainforest.

When the forest is cleared, adult orangutans are typically shot on sight. These peaceful, sentient beings are beaten, burned, mutilated, tortured and often eaten. Babies are torn off their dying mothers so they can be sold on the black market as illegal pets to wealthy families who see them as status symbols of their own power and prestige. Please understand that I am not trying to be overly dramatic. This actually happens. It has been documented time and again.

Some of the luckier orangutans are confiscated and brought to sanctuaries such as the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rescue Center, which is now home to nearly 700 orphaned and displaced orangutans in Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). Many of these orangutans are only several weeks old when they arrive, and all of them are psychologically traumatized and desperate for their mothers-- who were slaughtered right before their eyes.

Nyaru Menteng is managed by a remarkable woman named Lone Droscher Nielsen. It is featured on Animal Planet's series 'Orangutan Island' as well as on the BBC's 'Orangutan Diary'.

To learn more about the crisis facing wild orangutans because of palm oil and see how you can help protect them, please visit the Orangutan Outreach website.

Thank you for taking the time to read my long comment!

Best wishes, Rich


Richard Zimmerman
Director, Orangutan Outreach http://redapes.org

Reach out and save the orangutans!
Facebook Cause: http://causes.com/redapes

April 22, 2009 4:56 PM

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