Palm oil and the connection with orangutans

While orangutans face numerous threats, including the pet trade and illegal logging, most scientists agree that palm oil developed at the expense of orangutan habitat is the single greatest threat to the survival of the species.

In the last 20 years, the orangutans’ habitat has shrunk by 80 percent and their populations have dropped precipitously, from about 60,000 ten years ago to around 40,000 today.

Palm oil is an ingredient in thousands of common household items, from personal care products (shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics) to detergents and processed food products, like cookies, crackers and ice cream. Nearly half of our supermarket products contain it.

Determining whether or not a product contains palm oil is easier said than done. Palm oil and its derivatives are often listed under a host of other names, from vegetable oil to

See the following list of common names for palm oil. (Download PDF from Philadelphia Zoo.)