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Focus Area
  • People
  • Places
  • Policy
  • Populations
  • South East Asia
Partners and collaborators


The increased demand for palm oil has caused extensive habitat destruction across South East Asia, and in particular, Indonesia and Malaysia where around 85% of palm oil is grown.

Deforestation is an overwhelming environmental crisis, and is now the second leading cause of climate change globally, after burning fossil fuels. Agricultural expansion is thought to account for around 80% of deforestation.   

The impact of this human dominated palm oil landscape, is not only having an effect on our climate, but has also resulted in a sharp decline of precious native wildlife such as orangutans, rhinoceros hornbills, tigers, elephants and many more, pushing them to the brink of extinction. 

Find out more about our SUSTAINABLE PALM OIL Campaign!


partnerships for change

We wanted to highlight this large scale issue to the UK and globally, by launching one our most ambitious campaigns to date, with the aim of increasing demand for sustainable palm oil. We collaborate with partners in the field, to find solutions to this conservation challenge and reverse the devastating effects of the unsustainable palm oil industry.

We work with our field partners in the Kinabatangan Floodplain of Malaysian Borneo. Our partnership with HUTAN has involved various habitat improvement programmes including; building bridges for orangutans to move around fragmented forests safely, reforesting  projects, creating artificial nest boxes for rhinocerous hornbills to support successful breeding outcomes and working with local communities to create sustainable long-term solutions for the survival of orangutans.

Meanwhile, we continue our active participation in theEEP (EAZA Ex-Situ Breeding Programme) supporting conservation breeding programmes for the Bornean orang-utan, and other forest dwelling animals from the South East Asian Islands. We are committed to in zoo scientific research and developing our expertise in animal care, enabling us to better support the survival of these amazing animals.

Working with partners in the industry and other NGOs, we collaborate to develop realistic and objective strategies to improve criteria for sustainability. We transformed our own internal palm oil policies and provided toolkits to support other organisations to follow, including those within our own sector, such as WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums), EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums).


We represent BIAZA and EAZA in global conversations on sustainable agriculture. By combining the scientific work of our partners on the ground, with our knowledge of supply chains and policy within Europe, we have been able to input into, and influence UK and European policies. 

Our work continues to move us towards a deforestation-free strategy for all agricultural commodities, and we continue to represent our sector at key UK roundtable meetings and to contribute to government consultations on this issue.

In June 2018, conservationists from the zoo organised a large gathering at the Houses of Parliament, and contributed to a debate on forest risk commodities at the European Parliament in 2019.  

From working with communities in South East Asia, to educating our zoo visitors and schools. Empowerment is at the heart of our approach.


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