Barcelona Zoo and its contradictions towards orangutans and palm oil

Barcelona Zoo and its contradictions towards orangutans and palm oil

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The Barcelona Zoo reveals some contradictions in relation to orangutans and palm oil. On the one hand, it markets products that contain palm oil and at the same time receives specimens of orangutans alleging their captivity due to the danger that this species runs in nature due to palm plantations.

"They justify captivity with the dangers in animals in nature, dangers to which the zoo contributes." Doesn't this fact catch our attention ?; Everything seems to indicate that, in the logic of nineteenth-century zoos, the worse nature does, the better the zoos will do, and vice versa. At ZOOXXI we propose the opposite, a confluence of interests between the environment, animals and the zoological institution ”, commented the spokesperson for the ZooXXI Platform, Leonardo Anselmi.

The Barcelona Zoo discourages its visitors from consuming palm oil, but of the 20 products that are marketed in its stores, a study carried out by the ZOOXXI platform shows that 16 contain palm oil.

Danger of extinction

Orangutans are a species that is seriously endangered in their natural habitat by human activity. Palm plantations deforest large areas and have already caused a 50% reduction of the species. In addition, the illegal trafficking of baby orangutan is added.

The UN warns that 80% of orangutans found in their natural habitat could disappear by 2080 if there are no changes in the policies for the use of plant cover and soil for palm cultivation.

Orangutans in captivity

Currently 384 specimens of orangutans live in European zoos. In particular, the Barcelona Zoo is in the process of receiving Storma, an orangutan from the Boras Zoo (Sweden) on the recommendation of the coordinator of the European Extinction Species Program (EPP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) . In recent times they have also received two other female orangutan, Sari and Jingga, to Dublin Zoo and Blackpool Zoo respectively.

These exchanges are commonplace, every year thousands of animals are legally trafficked between zoos under the EAZA framework with the aim of conserving stable populations of threatened species outside their habitats if it is necessary to reinforce populations of natural habitats. But the truth is that there are no reintroduction programs and, once bred in captivity, adaptation to the wild is practically impossible.


ZOOXXI shows that the activities of zoos do not respond to an ecological logic but an economic one by which animals are kept locked up for life with little or no effect on natural habitats.

"At ZOOXXI we distinguish only two possible ways of working with orangutans: one of them consists of investing resources in protecting the natural habitats where these great apes live and committing to conservationin situ, do not harm them more by selling products with palm oil and support communication campaigns to explain this to the public of the zoos; and the other is to reproduce them in the zoo, never reintroduce them into the wild, not invest enough in their habitats and sell palm oil products in the zoo itself while carrying out a hypocritical and purely rhetorical campaign that asks not to consume. Among the options, guess which one the EAZA and the Barcelona Zoo will choose… they will surely get it right ”, stated Anselmi.

“Cases such as that of orangutans and palm oil in the Barcelona Zoo show us once again the ineffectiveness of current zoos' efforts to conserve endangered species and to raise public awareness. The conservation that they apply only causes the suffering of individuals who have been born and will die in captivity, of individuals that are constantly moved to ensure that they will have what to exhibit in the future with no effect on natural habitats ”, concludes Leonardo Anselmi,

With information from:

Video: Orangutan dying as demand for palm oil soars. NBC Rock Center (July 2022).


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