Are you sugar RUSHING to get candy? This year, make a positive difference for wild orangutans and other endangered species, including Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants, by purchasing Halloween treats made with sustainably-sourced palm oil.
Palm oil is a form of edible vegetable oil obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Palm oil is inexpensive and efficient, making it the world’s most widely used vegetable oil. Palm oil is found in approximately 50% of products found in grocery stores, ranging from snacks, candy, household products and cosmetics. Because of its high demand, unsustainable palm oil production is prevalent in Indonesia and Malaysia and threatens the habitat of many endangered species. While African oil palm trees originate in West Africa, the trees grow well in warm, humid areas around the world. As a result, millions of acres of habitat are cleared and burned each year to plant palm oil trees.
Sustainably-sourced palm oil ensures the preservation of habitat for wildlife and promotes safe working conditions and fair wages for local people. When produced sustainably, palm oil is the best option for an edible vegetable oil, requiring less land, pesticides and fertilizers than other oil alternatives. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was established to create a network of partners that are committed to sustainable palm oil production, as well as raise awareness and create resources for the public to make sustainable purchasing decisions.
There are many ways that you can support RSPO-certified organizations. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s (CMZ) Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping App is an effective way to help conserve habitat for endangered species by ensuring that you are buying products made with certified sustainable palm oil. This mobile shopping guide, available for Apple and Android devices, consists of an easy-to-use search function and barcode scanner that enables users to scan their favorite products and learn if the companies are RSPO certified. If the product is not certified, we ask that you choose an alternative product that is certified to product wildlife. To download or learn more about CMZ’s Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping App, click here.
This year, the OKC Zoo joined 95 signatories within the conservation community in support of Chester Zoo’s (CZ) joint statement, supporting the production of sustainable palm oil and discouraging a blanket boycott. This statement addresses specific actions that will work to improve the palm oil industry, as well as provides information on why boycotting palm oil could have negative consequences. CZ’s sustainable palm oil statement be found here.
Do you have Halloween on the brain? Before buying sweets and treats, download the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping app and use it to choose the best products to protect wildlife. This October, trick-or-treat yourself with a visit to the Zoo for its 38th annual Haunt the Zoo experience. Presented by Oklahoma’s own News 9, Haunt the Zoo brings Oklahoma families together to celebrate the Halloween season in a wild way. Combining outdoor fun with safe, contact-free trick-or-treating, festive activities and the Zoo’s wildlife – it’s an instant fall favorite for all involved. Haunt the Zoo occurs Saturdays and Sundays, October 9 through 31, to allow for adequate social distancing among guests. Trick-or-treating is available each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through timed ticketing. To purchase tickets, visit www.okczoo.org/tickets.