Friday, February 13, 2009

Palm Oil, Turning the World on it's Ear

Generally speaking, I'm the one who introduces soap box issues into our lives. But the world was turned on it's ear last night by a trip to the zoo, a sheet of paper, and a casual question.

We took C to the zoo last week - his second trip - and he loved it so much I didn't think he was ever going to want to leave. One of my favorite parts was dropping by the orangutans. We missed it on our first trip.

At first, the habitat appeared empty, but then we realized that a large male (Doc, as I recall), a female (Kelly) and a baby (Solaris) were tucked off in a corner. There was a glass viewing wall on that side and we went over so C could see what was going on. Doc sat with his back to us for a bit, then ambled over to the playground type thing in the middle of the habitat. He grabbed a thick rope, which snapped from it's supports when he put it's weight on it and then, as though he were embarassed about it, went to go hide in the back where no one could see him. Kelly, who had been cuddling with the baby, got up and went to check out the snapped rope. She tugged on it to untangle it (her problem solving skills leaving R open-mouthed) and eventually left it and followed Doc wherever he'd gone. Solaris followed her throughout.

The little nook where we were had information on all six of the zoo's orangutans (only three are out at a time) and I was tickled to see that the baby was six years old and always with his mother as he's still nursing. That made me happy.

Before we left, I picked up an information sheet. C started getting fussy so I tucked it away without reading it. By the time we got home six-or-so hours later, I'd forgotten about it.

R found it last night and sat down on the couch to read it. After a little while, he asked if we ever used palm oil. As far as I know we never have, but I almost picked some up for a project last week.

R told me that, according to the fact sheet I'd picked up, harvesting of palm oil is one of the largest dangers to orangutans. He seemed really bothered by it.


No palm oil for us, thanks.

A photo of Kelly, 29, checking out the broken rope and her still-nursing son Solaris, 6.


- Kiza

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