Our Friends the Orangutans

Kid Konnect: Become a Palm Oil Detective

by C S Wurzberger

Orangutans may go extinct within the next 10 years if habitat loss continues at the current rate!

The rainforest of South East Asia, where the Orangutans live is being cut down to make room for palm oil plantations. Sadly, 300 football fields of forest are being destroyed every HOUR. That’s 8.6 million acres destroyed in just 20 years.

By simply changing the foods you eat, you can help protect the Orangutans and their natural habitats.

Photo by David Gonzales on Pexels.com


  • Orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling animals on Earth.
  • In Malay, orang means “person” and utan is derived from hutan, which means “forest.” So, the orangutan’s name means “person of the forest.”
  • Orangutans live on only two islands, Borneo and northern Sumatra.
  • There are an estimated 30,000 orangutans left in the wild, about 20,000 on Borneo and under 10,000 on Sumatra.
  • Sadly, the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have thousands of Orangutans orphaned and in need of care. The orphan’s mothers are being harmed by the impacts of palm oil harvests.
  • Currently, we are losing around 6 thousand Orangutans per year.


Ask your parents to stopbuying products that contain unethically sourced palm oil.

Palm oil is used in soap, laundry detergent, toothpaste, shampoo and nearly half of all prepared foods you find in stores. Palm oil is commonly found in baked treats like brownies and cookies and is used to make potato chips crispy. 85% of the world’s palm oil comes from the Orangutan’s habitat in Malaysia.

Become a Palm Oil Detective and look inside your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator:

  1. Find the list of ingredients on 10 of your favorite foods.
  2. How many contain palm oil?
  3. Are there alternatives to those foods that do not contain palm oil?

Next time you’re in the grocery store, try to scout out foods that do not contain palm oil.

PLUS, use your voice. Tell your friends and family about how the Orangutans need our help. Share the effects of palm oil harvesting, deforestation, and the pollution caused by palm oil cultivation.

We hope you enjoyed this Green-Up project as much as we enjoyed creating it for you. In the next issue we’ll go on a trash treasure hunt.

C S Wurzberger, The Green Up Girl®. Founder and Director of The Green Up Kids Academy: offering programs for kids who love animals and protecting the planet. www.GreenUpKidsAcademy.org

brown monkey hanging on tree branch
Photo by Pat Whelen on Pexels.com

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