This post was originally published on September 23, 2020 and updated on July 15, 2021.

When you choose to purchase products made with sustainably sourced palm oil, you are helping to preserve the wellbeing of the world’s most treasured rainforest species. Nowhere is that more true than in Malaysia, which mandates that 100 percent of its palm oil be certified sustainable, and is one of the world’s top palm oil suppliers. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council is also a major financial contributor to the country’s remarkable Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). 

The WRU posts stories of its successes almost daily on its Facebook page. Recently, the team’s rangers and veterinarians came to the rescue of a baby owl, found in the nick of time beneath a coconut in a woman’s yard. It was just about to be attacked by her pet cats. The WRU assessed the owl, which they named Sparky, and found it to be healthy. Sparky will be hand raised under the care of a wildlife veterinarian until he is old enough to be released back into the wild. 

Have you ever heard of a pangolin? It’s an endangered species that resembles a scaly anteater. On two recent occasions, baby pangolins – called pangopups – were brought to the WRU and examined by the team’s veterinarians. Happily in both cases, they were bright, alert and responsive. One was old enough to be successfully released into a nearby protected forest reserve. The second is younger, and will receive careful veterinary monitoring to give it the best chance of survival. 

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Curious primates may be fun to watch, but when a long-tailed macaque was making a nuisance of itself at a local resort, the WRU team swept in to help. The team, led by veterinarian Nathan Sen, DVM, expertly darted the macaque to safely sedate him, then gave him a quick health check up before releasing him into a nearby protected forest reserve. 

We all buy food and personal care products. About half of the items found in supermarkets contain palm oil. Spend a few minutes researching online to see if the manufacturer of your favorite brands has committed to using only responsibly sourced, sustainable palm oil. Major corporations including Unilever and Mars, mention this commitment on their websites. 

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