November 16, 2019
By Erica Rymer, Events and Marketing Coordinator
Every November the world celebrates Orangutan Caring Week, calling people to take action against the destruction of the rainforest. Though the event was started by Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) as Orangutan Awareness Week, awareness is simply not enough to make the desired change and many organizations, including your Akron Zoo, have joined in taking action and encouraging others to do the same.
This year the theme of the week is centered around respecting critically endangered species. A species is considered critically endangered by the IUCN if it is at an extreme risk of becoming extinct. Factors such as habitat loss, deforestation and illegal poaching have driven many rainforest species, including the orangutan, into this category.
Many Akron Zoo species also call the rainforest home, including our poison dart frogs, macaws, leaf-cutter ants, capybara, jaguar, lemurs, golden lion tamarins and green iguana. Our red ruffed lemurs are among the species who have become critically endangered, while many others are in decline and are approaching critical status.
One way you can make an impact on rainforest species is to reduce your non-sustainable palm oil consumption. Palm oil comes from the oil of palm trees grown in the tropics and can be found in up to 50% of all supermarket items. The increased demand for palm oil has led to major rainforest deforestation. Your Akron Zoo has joined this cause by transitioning to palm oil free and palm oil sustainable products, both for regular day-to-day use and during events. For example, all of our treats at Boo at the Zoo this year were either palm oil free, or used sustainably certified palm oil.
You can find out if your products use sustainable palm oil by downloading the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo app, which provides a handy barcode scanner to check if a product is “orangutan friendly.” By transitioning to palm oil free and palm oil sustainable products, we can help reduce the demand for the product and save the lives of rainforest species in the process.
You can also donate to Cans for Corridors, which helps to reestablish tree corridors in Brazil. By recycling cans, we raise money to purchase and plant trees, rebuilding the environment that is being affected by deforestation. You can learn more about this program in our previous blog post (blog post link) or visit our Cans for Corridors page (link) to get involved.
We cannot save these species alone. Join us in the fight against extinction and take the first step toward saving critically endangered species. And don’t forget to visit your Akron Zoo! A portion of every ticket sale goes toward conservation and is just one more way you help us protect species in their natural habitats!