Gibbons are known for their vocal abilities. Male and female pairs duet to strengthen their bond and defend their territory. The largest of all gibbons, the siamang is also the loudest as its musical calls can be heard through dense rainforest foliage up to two miles away.
Oil palm plantations are spreading across Indonesia to the detriment of its rainforests and the siamangs that live there. In 2008, the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) initiated a program to certify companies that produce sustainable palm oil without clear cutting rainforests. Despite a slow start, markets show that manufacturing companies are responding as a record amount of palm oil was purchased from sustainable producers in March 2010.
With about half of our everyday products (e.g. food, soap, cosmetics) containing palm oil, it’s nearly impossible to cut it out of our lives entirely. There is also no easy way to know whether a certain product contains sustainably harvested palm oil just yet. We can, however, voice our concerns and support companies that pledge to use sustainable palm oil in their products, including Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, which have committed to purchasing 100% sustainable palm oil by 2015. The next time you go shopping, use your purchasing power to help protect siamangs.