10 Photos That Will Make You Never Want To Buy Palm Oil Ever Again

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Every day the rainforests that endangered Borneo Orangutans depend on for their survival are destroyed to make way for palm plantations.

Palm oil companies like PT Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (PT BGA), a subsidiary of Bumitama Agri Ltd, send in bulldozers to clear the forest so they can plant palm trees. Sometimes individual orangutans are hurt, captured and sold, or shot and killed. Thankfully, some are found and saved by trained orangutan rescue teams.

This is a photo essay of an orangutan rescue in an area being cleared by PT BGA in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.

“We were asked by the local forestry department to assist in the rescue of some orangutans found in a palm plantation area in Ketapang while the land clearing was taking place,” says Karmele Llano Sánchez, BVSc, MSc, Executive Director, Yayasan IAR Indonesia. “We deployed our team and found a number of orangutans were stranded, starving and in need of immediate medical attention. This orangutan rescue is an example of the rescues that our teams are frequently doing in areas where palm oil companies are clearing forests to make way for new palm oil plantations ”

WARNING: Some of these pictures are fairly graphic and might be hard to look at. The orangutan is stunned though, not dead. Still, these photos tell a story that is at once tragic and uplifting.

Rescue IAR_BGA_06

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Rescue IAR_BGA_08

Rescue IAR_BGA_09

Rescue IAR_BGA_010

Rescue IAR_BGA_01

Rescue IAR_BGA_02

Rescue IAR_BGA_03

We are witnessing the last stand for the orangutan. Their fate is in the palm of our hands.

Make a stand for the orangutan by joining RAN’s Palm Oil Action Team.

August 19th is World Orangutan Day. Show your support for the orangutan rescue teams by attending the World Orangutan Event on Facebook.

55 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. mary Gardner says:

    Never will I use palm oil!!!

  2. Drew Martin says:

    I am very sorry to see these animals suffering.

  3. Guy Shirra says:

    All down to the greed and corruption of Taib in Sarawak and his counterparts in Kalimantan.

  4. Barry platt says:

    It never ceases to abhor me the lengths man will go to to make money. GREED SHEER GREED!
    Absolute bastards

  5. Pat Cuviello says:

    I understand taking the orangs where the forest has been cut but why did the team take the orang and her baby that were in the forest?

  6. Trish says:

    Thank goodness for the brave and precious people that actually care about our sensitive wild life (what’s left of it) Please keep it up. “I care” THANKYOU

  7. Larsonist says:

    I avoid all traditional palm oil due to this destruction; only using organic red palm oil grown on small farms with no destruction to rainforests or harm to orangutan habitat.

  8. Arne Jacobs says:

    Stop the murder of the Orang Oetang!!!! Fuck the palmoil!!! You murderers!!!!

  9. D Huppertz says:

    when do we realize that we have to treat mother earth respectful, and not out of greed

  10. smith says:

    can you give the name of all products please

  11. robby romadona says:

    Anyone can help me alert the people about the tin mining?

  12. James Eaton says:

    The trouble with any product in the western world that contains Palm Oil is-how can you tell?- many manufacturers who use this product don’t actually state their “contains Palm Oil” most packets of biscuits contain this oil and some list it in the ingredients-but others simply get away with the generic term-contains Vegetable oil.. Palm Oil is in most spreads produced by unilever. My wife bought a tub of spread recently, that stated “Olive”, in big letters on the lid. I examined the list of ingredients and it stated-contains Rape seed oil, some Olive oil and Palm Oil.. You can’t win! Does any one have a definitive list for all products that have Palm oil in them? Please publish!

  13. Janet says:

    This is true devastation. The pictures and video bring it home all too clearly.

  14. Daniel says:

    to do to prevent this from happening in the world? not only happens there, happens across most of the planet! because these people have so much power? because nobody does anything? for all who are in power are all the same? different races and nationalities but the thought is the same .. destroy this planet, to reason that all these are the pair in power make these kinds of decisions? because there is not anyone who thinks differently and to defend the interests of nature? I can not believe that on this planet do not have powerful people who can help that do not follow this kind of thing happening, count on me to do whatever it takes.

    que hacer para que esto no suceda en el mundo? no solo pasa allí, pasa en toda la mayoría del planeta! porque esta gente tiene tanto poder? porque nadie hace nada? porque todos los que están en el poder son todos iguales? diferentes razas y nacionalidades pero el pensamiento es igual..destruir este planeta, a razón de que todo los mismos están el en el poder par a tomar estas clases de decisiones? porque no hay alguna persona que piense diferente y que defienda los intereses de la naturaleza? no puedo creer que en este planeta no hayan personas poderosas que puedan ayudar a que no sigan sucediendo esta clase de cosas, cuenten conmigo para lo que sea necesario.

  15. Booshi Thomas says:

    I understand about Palm Oil plantations however, what about the organic sustainable palm oil? There are families throughout the world who harvest palm to survive. They do it responsibly and it is organic. Would using that type of palm oil endanger rain forests and orangutans? I would love to know? In Africa local villagers harvest shea and cocoa for butters. This is the only way these people have to provide for the family, send the children to school etc. I think when purchasing Palm Oil that Organic, Sustainable provides a service to the local families. I would not purchase ANY other type. Any thoughts out THERE???

  16. Booshi Thomas says:

    For example regarding my post above – http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=269

  17. Jenifer says:

    Here’s a list of some of the products but as previously stated, if it says”vegetable oil” it probably means palm oil:
    It’s in most snacks and biscuits and virtually all margarine. I now have to make my own margarine to avoid it:
    It’s quite quick to make and I make enough to last a month and freeze it.

  18. Franny says:

    The industry is forcing us to use every day palm oil products,there is scarcely any product without palm oil,so that we make ourselves every day at this responsibility exploitation of nature!
    It is also important to inform our children,each chocolate bar contributes to the extinction of the orang utans.Read the product details,also detergent, toothpaste, etc contain palm oil!!
    Fingers away from it,many things you can make yourself,cheap, fast and environmental friendly,the Internet offers much informations and recipes,from laundry detergent to the butter!

  19. RICH ESPUGA says:


  20. Michael Casey says:

    I will do my best to let as many people I know to never use palm oil. And ask them to share what I’ve told them!!

  21. If the majority of people knew the consequences of the harvest of the rainforest they would boycott your products.

  22. Barbara Julien says:

    Bastards!!! STOP destroying the rain forest!!!! This is just sickening!!!

  23. Dr. Jones says:

    Gripping photos! Important issue. I will share this with a link on my facebook.com/JungleDeepPodcast page. Thanks, RAN. It is past time we get you on the show!

  24. Adhe says:

    i think is not relevant to say no for palm oil, the main problem is human running a business with animal sacrifices. we need another rule for each country to enforce every company which need open the forests have an animal rescue force.

  25. Charles Redfern says:

    A lot of you are getting the totally wrong end of the stick. Yes it’s hard to avoid palm oil in products (as it is to avoid a lot of other nasty ingredients that either abuse the environment or people) but this is certainly not new news so you could have found out earlier. Second and more important: THE ANSWER is not to avoid all palm oil products but to support those products that conscientiously address the problem when you are acting a consumer. Part two of the answer is to act as a citizen and if outraged support change and the NGO’s and campaigners trying to stand up for what is right. Now I can tell you that many organic products use responsibly produced palm oil as well as avoiding a vast number of other problems which is why organic is both better and more expensive – it care, so if you care, buy organic (I would have liked to say all organic but I can’t support that as I’m not sure).

    Here is an inspirational man and a product he sells at the end of it designed precisely to fight just not orangutang habitat destruction but also the socio-economic situation that leads to that destruction.


    Hunt out the good and support it – that’s my message: enough people don’t care so when people do try to do something good, they are left unsupported – a boycott is the wrong idea.

  26. Marie Power says:

    Our main source of power to change this is as consumers. Stop buying products with palm oil in them and campaign to change the current (european) law which does not require companies to specify it as an ingredient. But all Dove products contain it, many biscuits, bars, breakfast cereals. Choose products sold in health shops and under organic labels.And ask your MEP to change the law.

  27. Bogi says:

    I have never bought palm oil, but seeing these pictures, I never will buy!!! They made me extremely angry and sad…
    Freedom for the Living Planet!
    Love: Bogi from Budapest, Hungary

  28. Gemma,

    We are a nonprofit organization based in the USA. My sister Olivia (now11) and I (my name is Carter and I am now 12.5) started One More Generation (OMG) back in 2009 in an effort to save endangered species for at least One More Generation… and beyond.

    We are currently finishing up our Rhino campaign and after we return from South Africa later this year, we plan to start our next campaign which will be to fight for Orangutans and Asian Elephants. Obviously the Palm Oil industry will be our prime target.

    We would like to see about setting up a Skype call with you to discuss this in more detail. Would you be willing to do that with us?

    Thanks for all you do and we look forward to chatting soon.

    Best regards from all of us at OMG ;-)

  29. GLADYS MOREYRA says:


  30. Talin says:

    What about coconut oil?

  31. Doris Nielsen says:

    It is very sad that the corporations have no regard for other living beings – that they put profit above life. It is sad because the entire human race along with other species will suffer. I do not hold out much hope for the survival of the earth. I will make certain that any product I purchase does not contain palm oil and I will NOT purchase any product that does.

  32. kerstin says:

    just stopped to take any products that mentioned vegetale oil now for one year and after these pictures now i m right but have to take more people in the boat!!!

  33. Syrah Arnold says:

    why are Co-op and Jordans (two UK companies that promote themselves as ethical) using palm oil in their food? Please shame them.

  34. Maryanne Appel says:

    My family and I have been boycotting palm oil – from ALL sources (sustainable? – rubbish!) – for the past four years. I have been encouraging friends, relatives, and associates to do the same.

  35. Jason says:

    Mostly due to the greed and corruption of Taib Mahmud on Sarawak’s Rainforest. Now, orang utans are the victim of it. :( Pity for orang utans.

  36. Jimmy says:

    You can find palm oil in almost “every” products.If you are not going to buy products containing palm oil,what alternative(s) do you have?

  37. Jul Heath says:

    So DO we need to avoid ALL PALM OIL or just certain types, I see people comment above saying red palm oil is ok ?
    Is this true ..
    Do these lovely creatures not live in red palm oil plantations also ?

  38. Vanessa Overton says:

    You should start a pledge page for everyone to sign up on saying they will never purchase anything with palm oil in it again! The Avaaz petitions are the best!They have 25 million members worldwide and its growing all the time:)http://avaaz.org/en/

  39. Pam says:

    How tragic! The look on the rescuer’s faces says it all.

  40. Katherine says:

    It would be helpful to have the names of sustainable organic farmers of palm oil. Please let us know.

  41. Carie says:

    European biofuel uses palm oil from Indonesia, most food palm oil is from Africa. What are we doing to boycott this? :-(

  42. Peta Clarke says:

    I spent the morning going through my house reading all the labels on my products and threw out anything that could possible have palm oil. I will be reading labels before I buy when in doubt will not buy. Orangutan Day tomorrow do something to help. Did look up sources on internet to make sure on products and how companies hide the truth of palm oil in products.

  43. Vicki Cowell says:

    I salute the people who put themselves out there and make a difference.Thank you so much.I will never purchase any product that doesn’t use responsible certified palm oil.

  44. Marius says:

    Lets face it…. We are all but slaves to Killing these animals… Conscious or not… We are all doing it on a daily basis! We are no different than the people who are cutting down the trees and hurting these animals,.. we eat meat… we buy jewellery .. we watch TV… we are mere byproducts of an enslaved system… How did we get here and please save my soul how do we get out of this… One step at a time seems to be the obvious answer… Big up to the guys for saving these animals.. and a Big up and thank you for the activist driven motive behind the palm tree oil… We need more people like this in the world… Are you really one?

  45. Incredibly sad to see pictures like this, but props to the people in the rescue team. I saw a lot of comments about ways to avoid palm oil so I did some research. Apparently, if a product’s saturated fat content is over 40% of it’s total fat content, then it probably contains palm oil. We see this destruction from industries besides palm oil, yet it continues…What will be the turning point that changes how these companies operate?

  46. Jeff Turnage says:

    The trouble with sustainable palm oil is the same as elephant ivory taken in legal, controlled hunts, or animals that died of natural causes. As long as there is a legal trade in ivory, bribery and greed will ensure illegally taken ivory will get into legal channels. Exactly the same if you think you’re buying sustainable palm oil. Another example is 70% of honey sold in the US originates from China or India, which is illegal in the US because it’s often contaminated with corn syrup, water, heavy metals and antibiotics. Just because something is regulated, doesn’t mean it really is. Don’t fool yourself. The only solution to unsustainable palm oil, is to not use any at all. There are plenty of alternatives to use in human products.

  47. Randell Herren says:

    Say No to Palm Oil!

  48. sandra mcevoy says:

    People must be discouraged from using palm oil esp. as there are alternatives. There is so much cruelty in this world and caused by humans, that is why I prefer animals to our race.

  49. Kim says:

    THANK YOU, to the heroes in the photos…

  50. Anthony V says:

    Referring to the anti palm oil campaigns and the orang utan habitat destruction, aren’t cultivation and production of other edible oils such as rapeseed, canola, sunflower and soybean contributes to biodiversity degradation and habitat destruction of other types of species of animals and plants around the world. It seems bias to just boycott the palm oil when the sustainability status of the rest of the oil produced are also questionable.

Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Sumatran orangutans’ last stand: Call on US snack food industry to cut rainforest destruction | Sunset Daily
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