Birthday boy takes cake

DID somebody say cake?

Sumatran orang-utan Menyaru enjoyed a fruitcake at Melbourne Zoo yesterday to celebrate his ninth birthday.

His father Santan and 18-month-old sister Dewi joined in the celebrations — but their cousins in the forests of northern Sumatra are not so lucky.

Fires are raging through the Tripa peat forest in Aceh as companies break Indonesian law to clear land to make way for palm oil plantations.

Zoos Victoria conservation director Rachel Lowry said orang-utan numbers were dropping as they lost their rainforest habitat.

“Palm oil is in at least 50 per cent of the manufactured foods we buy, but in most cases we don’t know that because it is currently legal to label it as vegetable oil,” she said. “We want that to change, so we as consumers will be able to exercise the right to choose products with full knowledge of the ingredients included.”

To mark Menyaru’s birthday, Zoos Victoria provided funds to buy two motorbikes for conservationists helping injured or orphaned orang-utans in Tripa.

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About endoftheicons

The Leuser Ecosystem on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia is in grave danger. Local politicians want to allow logging, mining and palm oil plantations in this vulnerable area. Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers are already hanging on by a thread. They will not survive the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem.

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