COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo says saving the lives of wild orangutans is as easy as downloading a smartphone application.
The free app is a shopping guide that helps users find products whose manufacturers are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The zoo says that the biggest threat to wild orangutans and other wildlife in Borneo and Sumatra is deforestation due to agriculture - primarily the production of palm oil.
"Palm oil is used to make items we consume every day like food and personal care products," Dina Bredahl, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Animal Care Manager and champion of the Zoo's palm oil awareness conservation program, said. "Purchasing products that are manufactured by RSPO member companies is the easiest thing we can do to help endangered wild orangutans."
In 2011, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was the first zoo in the world to join the RSPO. The RSPO is a non-profit association of international stakeholders from across the palm oil industry, including producers, processors, retailers and conservation groups. The goal of the RSPO is to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. To achieve certification, members must meet stringent environmental and social criteria and protect native wildlife, like orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinos.
"When palm oil is produced sustainably, it minimizes the impact on wildlife, indigenous people and the planet," Bredahl said. "It's our responsibility to be smart consumers and realize the repercussions of our everyday choices."