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Monkey World News

Ape expert warns over orang-utans

This Is Purbeck

A DORSET ape expert is demanding the government takes action before the orang-utan becomes extinct. The species is already endangered and its future is threatened by the growth of palm oil plantations, which produce an oil used in one in 10 products on the supermarket shelf including chocolate, toothpaste and margarine. The orang-utan's natural habitat, in Indonesia and Malaysia, is rapidly disappearing due to the increase in such plantations and Jim Cronin, who runs Monkey World rescue sanctuary at Wool, says the species will be wiped out in 10 years' time unless something is done. He said: "The government has said it is concerned about palm oil, but I really think what's needed is direct action. We need the companies who are using palm oil unnecessarily in their products to be named because the problem we have now is we don't know who's using all the palm oil and where it comes from. "There are alternatives to palm oil. For example, some crisp companies use sunflower oil." Mr Cronin said that, unless something is done to halt the production of palm oil, the orang-utan will soon become extinct. He urged firms and individuals to follow his lead and check the products they use do not contain palm oil. He added: "The threats to the orang-utan are severe. "The palm oil plant plantation that they're proposing right now will be the death knell for orang-utans. "The government needs to do far more than just say they are concerned. Concern is not good enough. Concern alone will not save the orang-utan. "What we need from the British Government is to take the lead and to make it clear to companies using palm oil in this country and in Europe and through the European Union that it's unacceptable to play a part in the destruction of an endangered species. "I think we need to give a damn and we need to start identifying these countries."

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