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ZOO NEWS

Wild Zoo Halloween in final days, and the meaning of orangutan-friendly treats

Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 2:38 pm

Oct. 25, 2012

The fun continues for one more weekend at the Wild Zoo Halloween! It's been great seeing adorable costumed kids and families enjoying quality time together.

Plan a visit to enjoy these Theme Days at the Wild Zoo Halloween:

*Today: Pumpkin decorating workshop

Get creative! Decorate and take home your own mini-pumpkin for no additional charge.

*Friday: Free train rides

Ride the zoo train as many times as you want today, it's free!

*Saturday: Princess Day

It's every little girl's dream: Meet Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Tiana on the Australian Adventure Plaza from 1-4 p.m. Bring your camera!

*Sunday: Magic Day

Enjoy amazing Magic Shows at 1:45 and 2:45 p.m. on the Australian Adventure stage

* Wednesday: Animals and pumpkins

Zoo critters get pumpkins treats for Halloween. Will they eat them or play with them? Find out at: 1 p.m., wallaby; 1:30 p.m., bobcat; 2 p.m., goats; 2:30 p.m., otter; 3:30 p.m., dingoes; and 4 p.m., red panda.

The Wild Zoo Halloween is open noon-5 p.m. Oct. 25-28 and 31. Admission is $8 for children, $4 for adults. Zoo Members get $2 off per person every day.

For complete Wild Zoo Halloween details, click on http://kidszoo.org/programs-and-events/wild-zoo-halloween/.

Orangutans and Halloween: What's the connection?

You may have heard that the zoo gives out "orangutan-friendly" treats to kids at the Wild Zoo Halloween. What does that mean?

Many products we use in everyday life, such as foods, soaps and cosmetics, contain palm oil. Palm oil is made from trees grown on large plantations in the tropics, including on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia, where orangutans live.

In recent years, unscrupulous individuals have cut and burned huge swaths of rain forests in Indonesia to build new palm oil plantations. Some of these new plantations were built in the middle of national parks, destroying vital rain forest habitat and nearly eradicating wild orangutans, tigers and hundreds of other plant and animal species.

This level of destruction has been swift and unparalleled.

Because palm oil is so integral to the products we use, and because legitimate palm oil plantations provide important jobs for Indonesian people, a movement was born to label products made with "sustainable" palm oil -- that is, palm oil grown on plantations that promote best practices and environmental responsibility.

Many companies have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), including many candy manufacturers such as ConAgra Foods, Hershey's, Mars and more. In 2011, the zoo opted to purchase treats which, if they contain palm oil, are made only with sustainable palm oil.

This Halloween, consider buying only treats made with sustainable palm oil for the little goblins that visit your neighborhood. You'll make a statement to manufacturers while doing your part to protect the last remaining wild orangutans.

Download a list of products made with sustainable palm oil at http://www.cmzoo.org/docs/palmOilShoppingGuide.pdf.

Read more about orangutans at http://kidszoo.org/our-animals/indonesian-rain-forest/sumatran-orangutan/.

Cheryl Piropato is education and communications director for the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.