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KC Zoo eliminates palm oil to protect orangutans

From pretzels and hamburger buns to soaps and window cleaners, the Kansas City Zoo is clearing out items containing palm oil from its inventory and seeking companies that will provide alternatives. It’s part of a massive effort to help save orangutans and all animals affected by non-sustainable palm oil farming.

The zoo will use alternative products until it can identify companies that are committed to using certified sustainable palm oil. Palm oil, a form of edible vegetable oil obtained from African oil palm trees, is a key ingredient used in many foods and household products, from lotion and shampoo to bread products.

Unsustainable palm oil production results in massive deforestation, rapid biodiversity loss and significant greenhouse gas emission. In the last decade, nearly 80 percent of deforestation in the Sumatra peat lands was driven by the expansion of non-sustainable palm oil plantations. This valuable habitat is necessary for the survival of orangutans and other endangered wildlife.

KCZoo-Mom-and-Baby-DanglingCertified sustainable palm oil comes from plantations that have committed to producing palm oil in a way that minimizes its impact on wildlife, indigenous people and the planet. Palms that produce the oil can be grown without destroying rainforests. If it is grown sustainably, palm oil can be the best choice for vegetable oils because oil palms produce 4 to 10 times more oil per acre than other crops.

The Kansas City Zoo suggests these ways for consumers to help the effort:

  • Download Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s new palm oil shopping guide app to help make sustainable choices at
  • Support companies that are members of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil at
  • Encourage and educate those using palm oil to do business with companies that supply 100-percent segregated, certified sustainable palm oil that is deforestation-free.

Learn more about the zoo’s sustainability efforts at

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