The shocking, real cost of a weekly supermarket shop
The heartbreaking Iceland advert calling for a boycott of palm oil has been watched more than 30 million times online after being banned from our TV screens.
The tearjerker features a cartoon orangutan talking to a little girl in her bedroom about her rainforest home being destroyed by palm oil plantations.
The little ape tells her: “There’s a human in my forest and I don’t know what to do. He took away my mother, I’m scared he’ll take me too.”
But when the Mirror travelled into the remote forests of Borneo we found the reality was even worse than the Christmas advert claims.
We were told of the critically endangered animals being shot with sharpened air rifle pellets or doused in petrol and burned alive by farmers who consider them pests because they nest in their trees.
Locals have even been paid £10 for each great ape they kill.
Notoriously, one orangutan was used as a prostitute in a village brothel.
At Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo, 40 orphaned orangutans are being cared for.
There we found, just like us, they hate the rain. One baby orangutan throws a tantrum as the heavens open, thumping his fists on the ground.
Another takes a more practical approach and grabs banana leaves to fashion a makeshift umbrella. But soaking-wet Wulan has an even better idea. Sticking out a long arm, she swipes a tourist’s purple plastic poncho and dashes off to try it on.
It’s not much by way of payback, though. We humans have stolen her home.
Critically-endangered orangutans only exist in the rainforests on the Malaysian and Indonesian islands of
Borneo and Sumatra and there are an estimated 104,000 left.
Numbers have plummeted because of hunting and deforestation caused by the relentless march of the palm oil industry and intensive logging.
As we drive 70 miles from the airport to the reserve in Sukau there are palm trees as far as the eye can see.
Volunteer Lynn Ashcroft, 53, from Brighton, who has just spent three weeks replanting the forest canopy with Brunei Malaysia PALM oil is found in half of all supermarket products, from pizza and margarine to moisturiser and makeup.
More than 3.5 million hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian forest have been destroyed in the past 20 years.
In that time, almost 80% of orangutans’ habitat has disappeared, meaning more than 6,000 creatures die each year because of unsustainable palm oil production.
Some of the world’s biggest brands are among the worst offenders.
However, the hysteria fails to account for sustainable production used by companies such as Unilever.
When produced sustainably, palm oil can be eco-friendly as it takes up less space than other alternatives. On the same area of land,it produces twice as much oil as coconut and more than 30 times as much as maize.
Charities say a boycott of palm oil would increase demand for less efficient oils and that instead we should work towards sustainable
production in the future.
her daughter, summed it up. “As we flew over Borneo you see it is all green and you think that’s the jungle,” she said. “But then you see they are palm oil plantations. They’ve taken the whole forest.” We travelled along the Kinabatangan river and saw an elephant swimming across in front of us. Minutes later it is clear why.
As our boat turns a bend we come across a huge palm plantation surrounded by an electric fence to keep out the elephants. Our boatman Wan, Indonesia 200 Miles Former forest in front of Borneo palm grove Mirror’s Lucy at orang sanctuary