6th Dec, 2016

Stratford sisters campaign to help save orangutans

Stratford Editorial 1st Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

SAVING orangutans from extinction is the aim of three eco-friendly ‘little monkeys’ from Stratford.

Sisters Anais, ten, Imogen, eight, and Olivia Gautier, seven, have teamed up in a bid to stop big companies using palm oil in their products.

They say large areas of rainforest are being destroyed to create palm oil plantations, which is forcing many animals out of their homes and putting already endangered species at risk.

Such is their devotion to the cause, the girls have even given up some of their favourite foods – including Nutella, malted milk biscuits and Cadbury products – because they contain palm oil.

The youngsters were first made aware of the problem by their granddad who saw a documentary on the issue.

In a bid to find out more, they watched YouTube clips, read books about orangutans, and made lists of environmentally-friendly companies and products containing palm oil.

But they were devastated to discover one of their favourite animals could be extinct within the next six years if the rainforests continued to be chopped down.

Inspired to take action, the trio decided to start a campaign and penned a letter to the Observer asking whether we could help raise awareness.

They said: “It seems sad to think in six years we might see no more of these beautiful creatures. This really could be avoided if the companies would stop using palm oil just because it’s cheap.

“On top of this, palm oil is not that good for your health and is linked to cardiovascular disease.”

The Willows C of E pupils already have the backing of their school and have done a talk in assembly to highlight the orangutans’ plight.

The campaign is now in full swing with posters having been put up around the school and their story made a feature in the school newsletter.

And mum Jennie, who described the girls as her own ‘little monkeys’, says the weekly shop has been affected with the trio insisting every product is meticulously screened before it gets the seal of approval to go into the trolley.

She told the Observer: “I can’t believe how many products contain palm oil, and despite their love of Nutella and Cadbury’s chocolate they’ve given them all up without hesitation.

“To quote my friend Kate, ‘It’s one thing to talk about supporting a cause but to put their munchies where their mouths are shows their commitment.

“I am very proud to have such environmentally-conscious daughters. Their passion and energy for this project has astounded me and I really hope they achieve their goal.”

Anais, Imogen and Olivia are hoping to get 1,000 signatures on their petition by visiting schools across the district. Then they plan to send it to the companies who use the most palm oil in a bid to get them to sit up and listen.

If nothing else, they hope to persuade more people not to buy products containing palm oil.

Click here to sign the petition.