Working in the Sun, the Dream or the Dammed

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I awake, it’s midday and it must be 40 degree’s celsius outside yet it is far hotter in this room I share with my current boyfriend. I stare at the broken window with a bed sheet acting as a curtain whilst my head bangs from a mixture of the drunken cocktails the night before mixed with the severe dehydration of having no water. I stumble out of the sweat filled bed and into the kitchen of the tiny fixed caravan to come across my devil caravan-mate who woke me with the blare of dubstep from the stereo. I have no cigarettes, we all have no cigarettes or water. I stagger out the front door to the killing yet beautiful sun to the neighbours, they are still asleep. I rummage around in their kitchen, grab myself 3 cigarettes and back to bed I go.

Six hours later I awake again with the dread of work. Oh god how bad I feel. If you have ever had a hellish hangover, try that 90 days in a row,  that is a real hangover. I shower in cold water, take one step out the shower and covered in sweat again. What is the point especially when air-conditioning just isn’t a possibility.  I quickly apply some make-up, tie my hair up, grab my stuff and start the 1Km walk to work. I envy all the tourists looking fresh, smiling and loving the sun. Where’s my tan? It’s not uncommon to be sick on the way to work or whilst at work. I enjoy my job, I’m a photographer in pubs and nightclubs and often “prop” on the street, encouraging tourists to come into the bars; the pay is good, the hours are great and the people are fabulous.

Work finishes around 1am which is a brilliant time to finish, many worker’s I know finish 5 or 6 in the morning with less pay than me and not one day off, ever. Yet, it is so exhausting, this routine is taking a toll on my body. I’m pale, im losing weight by the week and generally look ill despite living out of burger king. It could be worse, many people I know have turned to cocaine among the worker community just for the energy boost required, there is a major drug problem. Families fall apart, moral’s are left in their country of origin and the behaviour becomes more outrageous as time goes on. I’ve noticed a change in myself, I was shy and sweet yet I’ve really had to toughen up to survive in this society; the rumours, the lies; the accusations. You genuinely turn quite feisty in this type of environment. It could be compared to eastenders, but this is real life. People fall out, people get severely battered, the police turn a blind eye. You hear of rapes, drug gangs running people out of the area and all of a sudden you become aware of the real situation, but we also turn a blind eye and live in bliss.

Thankfully, the tourists see the happy drunk staff, the friendliness, the euphoric energy we provide and everything we can to make them have a great time. It’s not all doom and gloom, it is the most fun experience you can imagine. Aside all the bitchiness, the workers form a strong bond, we know everyone, and we party till sunrise. We look after each other, do favours and enjoy each other’s company. We are out every night, we cannot help it. You begin the night of working with the mindset of absolutely no alcohol however, in the type of environment its hard to resist. As the night progresses you drink to settle your stomach and before you know it 1 turns into 20 or 30. I wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s a family and its full of laughter.

However, there are some problems with this lifestyle:

  1. Out of Season
  2. Stability & Security
  3. Influence
  4. Psychological

1. Every high season must end in a low season in which for most workers (unless you are an owner/manager/resident) means the loss of jobs. The majority of the venues close over the winter period so you have a couple of options. Stay on and be part of the foreign equivalent to  income benefits or go home which poses more potential problems. For example, you gave up your flat and job just to come back to nothing or possibly you come back to your flat whilst   struggling throughout the summer paying for 2 properties, yet still to come back to no job. The other extreme being students not returning for their course only to be forced home out of season to return to not being able to continue due to non-appearance and general immaturity throwing your life away for sake of a few weeks.

2. It’s sad when you see 50-year-old waitresses hagged from the sun and alcohol consumption over the years working in a backstreet karaoke pub. Yet you see it. Tired and exhausted but no other choice. This is the reality of what happens unless you make something of yourself. Having no connections to the home country anymore, there is no opportunity to ever leave and not being fluent in the native language poses problems for other job opportunities. It’s not just the oldie’s who are affected, youngsters will never properly get their feet on the ground unless they are from a rich background so as fun as it is, I wouldn’t recommend it as a permanent life plan but just as a few summer seasons whilst young.

3. Behaviour, drugs and alcohol. There is a fair amount of peer pressure in these so called holiday resorts, not to just look good but in some ways to out do each other. Everyone sleeps with everyone, fine in our generation and in such a party resort but some take it a little too far. A friend of mine when drunk gets dared to sleep with some of the most gruesome men you have seen and she does it, hilarious to everyone else, mortifying for her the next day but unless you can stand up for yourself these sort of dares are common practice and yes funny but regrettable. There are drugs everywhere, we know the dealers and even the workers influence you to join in. To be honest, it’s not so much of a problem if its discrete and each to their own but I have seen friends change over the years and the dependency is just plain obvious nowadays.

4. Oh the psychological side, my god how much it changes you. Its done me some good to be honest. I use to always be walked over for being so nice I would say, not anymore, at least I can stand up for what’s right. Other problems you shall notice is sleeping, to keep it simple, no alcohol equals no sleep (ever). I think you become so use to konking out from alcohol without it you literally lie for hours and hours awake as the morning arrives, a personal problem I have suffered from. Furthermore, the change back to reality to your home, adjusting again is more difficult than you may think, once again you have responsibilities. You need concentration, confidence and let’s be honest, your morals.

These are the bad points of working in a drink-fuelled holiday resort but I genuinely think  the pro-points outweigh these by far. The lasting relationships you form with people all over the world never seem to fade even if it has been a few years. The drunken giggles, the adventures we share and the plain right stupid things we have all done just make stronger bonds and amazing stories to bring back home. You genuinely care about and love everyone you work and live with, being in such a small environment and being  constantly compannioned with them 24/7 ensures you get to know people more than you would in a nomal home environment. For many years I have been returning to this certain resort and the new faces quickly fit in and continually appear year after year until they are part of the “family”.

I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Cathryn Gribben

The Nine Most Cruel and Controversial World Delicacies


by CHAN LEE PENG (Health Consultant & Writer)

While looking at these bloody delicacies, do you still feel hungry?

Each culture has their own traditional foods that they enjoy, although occasionally, certain foods that appeal to a person in one place, but may not be appealing to someone in another part of the world.

These following foods from the world cuisine are not only peculiar in their ingredients, but they also appear to be very violent in their preparation and inflict great suffering on animals. Some of the following pictures and videos are pretty graphic, and should be approached with caution. They are included to present visual examples of these types of foods, and to show that these kinds of dishes are not rare in the world, but instead exist daily in many cultures.

1. A Monkey’s Brain

The following dish is actually quite a murderous scene, and the ensuing feast can be quite gruesome. A captured monkey is first forcibly pulled to the dining table. The monkey is tightly held with hoops over its hands and legs. One of the diners uses a hammer to knock hard enough to actually create a hole in the live monkey’s head. Its cracked skull opens from its head and the diners use a stick of iron rod to extract the monkey’s brain. The monkey usually screams terribly before dying near the table.

Some of the more aggressive and “hungry” diners may actually use their spoons to scrape through the bloody monkey’s brain, eating in a greedy manner as though they have not eaten in a long time. The diners continue to eat the raw brain completely, often with their fingers and hands covered with smelly blood. Others may prefer to dip the raw brain into a traditional herb soup in order to add to the aroma while eating.

Comment: I personally cannot understand how these people swallow this bloody delicacy with no apparent regret and without nausea. I think that it is unbelievably disgusting to see how they chew hungrily on the bloody brain. While researching this article, I found many videos on this popular custom but I decided that they were just too violently graphic to use, and I decided to spare you the trauma of these painful scenes.

2. A Baby Rodent

This apparent delicacy consists of a newly born rodent, a small selection of seasonal vegetables, and a traditional eating custom. The diner initially uses a special skewer to stab the live rodent. The first “chi” sound is apparently heard as the rodent, who cannot bear the pain of being pierced, squeals as it is impaled on the skewer. As the diner dips the still-live rodent into the boiling oil, the second “chi” sound is said to be heard.

As the well-fried rodent is finally placed into the diner’s mouth, the third “chi” sound is allegedly heard one last time. Such a delicacy is actually quite simple, but the diner obviously needs to have certain degree of courage, energy, and very possibly, a real culinary open-mindedness to try it.

Comment: It is perhaps not as disturbing for those who eat this delicacy as compared with those who enjoy preparing this extremely graphic type of food. Maybe they should be put in jail instead for abusing these animals in such a terrible manner. How strange it is to see people laughingly enjoying this cruel delicacy in such a happy mood!

3. Turtle Flesh

This dish begins with a live turtle being covered with appropriate seasonings and herbs, while a pan of water is being heated. As the water begins to warm, the turtle is then put into the water. Due to the extreme heat, the turtle will actually begin to drink the water as its body begins to become cooked by the hot liquid. The cook then allows the turtle to remain alive in the herb soup in order to create a good flavor. As the water gradually becomes hotter, the turtle will begin to struggle helplessly in pain.

Comment: It is really quite disturbing to see a live turtle struggling hopelessly in the extremely hot water. Do humans really have to torture the helpless animal in this manner just to satisfy their own eating instincts?

4. Roasted Duck Legs

Here is another popular food that begins with a live animal. A live duck is placed on a slightly hot frying pan. Prior to this, an appropriate amount of seasonings is rubbed all over the duck’s body. Due to the heat of the hot-plate, the duck will obviously try to make every attempt to get off of the hot metal, and from time to time, it will try to jump out of the pan.

Finally, the legs will become fully roasted, while its body is still actually alive. The cook will then cut off the duck’s legs for them to be placed on a plate to be ready to serve hot to the diner. The remaining part of the duck is then put in the freezer for other future.

Comment: This is an extremely disgusting and cruel delicacy when it is viewed from the initial moment of preparation until it is finally served to the diner.

5. Donkey’s Meat

This queer delicacy involves eating fresh donkey meat, where the flesh is actually eaten raw without cooking. The diner uses a special fork and spoon to scoop out some of the flesh from the donkey. The meat is then totally dipped into the fresh red blood before it is eaten. According to tradition, the more the diner heard the screaming of the donkey, the more excited they will then be to dine on this delicacy.

Comment: What types of human being are these? They appear to be quite inhumane as they show no benevolence towards the donkey’s painful screaming. This unusual eating behavior is among the cruelest in the world’s delicacies that I encountered.

6. A Dried Chicken

To make this dish, the cooks need to work fast in order to create it. With the chicken completely alive, they quickly peel off the chicken’s feathers, taking out the heart in an astonishingly short time. Later, they fill the chicken’s abdomen with seasonings before sewing it up. Finally, they hang it up to dry it out before serving to the diner.

During the preparation, the chicken is still alive, and it will keep on making a noisy sound. It will often struggle violently to get away from the cooks. The cook’s hands eventually become totally bathed in large amounts of red blood.

Comment: This chicken has to bear an extremely painful torture as first its feathers and then its heart are removed. The diner eats this dried-alive chicken with apparent pleasure. Indeed, the one time I saw this personally, it caused me to me vomit while looking at the other diners eating it in such a high-spirited mood.

7. A Flesh of Live Shrimp

This seafood dish is not only raw, but served while the shrimps are still alive. First, a cup of Brandy, Whiskey or Vodka is poured onto the live Shrimps. Then, the diner eats these live shrimp, apparently with great excitement.

Comment: This seems simply disgusting, and although it looks harmless, I was still shocked and disgusted by this peculiar eating habit.

8. Grilled Unborn Lamb

First, an entire pregnant female goat is butchered and thrown onto a charcoal fire to burn until it turns a golden brown color. When it is entirely baked, the cook will then cut through its abdomen to take out the cooked, unborn lamb from inside its mother’s body. It is said that in this manner, the softness of the young lamb can offer the diner an especially pleasing taste.

Comment: This is another delicacy that just seems tasteless.

9. Baby Herbal Soup: The most horrifying, cruel and disgusting delicacy ever

This is an even more horrid nightmare when people are eating human foetuses or preborn babies for a nutritional value and to boost sexual power, overall health and stamina. Now, though, the world is encouraging and at times tolerating with abortion issues and ignorance which has allowed the selling of and consumption of human foetuses. What on earth is going on in this world?

There is a growing trend of eating humans in a town located in the Southern province of Canton (Guangdong), China. This delicacy is called “Spare Rib Soup” in the local jargon and it is said to be a nutritional food to help boost stamina, improve overall health while enhancing sexual performance (potency). Allegedly, this human foetus dish is claimed to gain popularity in Shenzhen, China.

Image source

This disgusting herbal soup uses human foetus (or pre-birth babies) as its main ingredient. It is then boiled with pieces of chicken ribs/chicken meat along with other Chinese expensive herbal ingredients which include Chinese Angelica, ginger pieces, Melina officinalis, Qi Zi and Codonopsis pilosula for at least 8 hours of steaming/boiling. This bowl of Spare Rib Soup is not cheap, but costs around 4,000 Yuan, currency in China (or US $600). Even though this cruel food is accepted in certain regions of China, it is not accepted by the majority of Chinese, either those who live in China or those living outside China. This delicacy has stirred a controversial debate as it involves human life and an issue of the existence of cannibalism. Definitely, it against human rights!

This so called exotic delicacy is not available on a daily basis. According to the local people, one has to order the dish ahead of time and then have to wait for a couple of weeks when the baby is available there for cooking. They may have to wait longer depending on the availability of the babies being sold to the restaurant. Usually, there is no shortage of babies as several pregnant foreign workers who are working there are willing to sell their unborn children and are contacted for their pre-birth babies in case there is an increase demand of this delicacy. Sometimes, babies which were already dead from miscarriages are sold to serve as the main ingredient of this delicacy. This is without conscious, disgusting and deplorable ways to make money and run a business!

The price the restaurant owner pays to purchase a baby depending on the baby’s age. It will also depend on whether the baby is dead or alive while selling to the purchaser. The one aborted close to 9 months costs around 2,000 Yuan (or about US $290), and those aborted earlier than 9 months cost several hundred Yuan. Even the placenta alone can be sold for about US $30. Of course, the paying price is higher for boy foetuses.

Blog Comments:

I would like two say thanks for these two fantasic article’s combined by Chan Lee Peng. I utterly agree with him and find it disturbing and completely wrong. I believe no animal should be subjected to such suffering nor should be take advantage of those of lesser power (look up speciesism). It’s a scary world and I genuinly believe we will kill of the majority of the animal species and eventually our own species with our destructive powers.

Childhood Memories: Wildlife

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So I grew up in a small, remote village in the countryside of north-east Scotland and from a very young age I was encouraged to explore and respect nature, wildlife and the environment. I grew up with the normal family pets, a loyal golden retriever called Zoe and a tabby pussy cat called Marigold. They were both very lovely, RIP. Oh and of course my own list of hamsters, Victor, Jigsaw and Horny, yes Horny, as well as a little pond of tadpoles and frogs. Sounds normal enough right? Yes well I took my animal obsession to another level as a child as you will soon discover, we shall start with bone collecting!


My Dad and I often walked Zoe to an area we called “rabbit world”, this place had an abundance of rabbits, and I mean they were bloody everywhere along with the odd badger, fox, deer and occasionally we would spot a big cat type panther lurking in the bushes. Just a wee note, the history of the area dates back to a time whereby exotic animal‘s were allowed as pets and due to reinforcing animal laws against keeping such animals, many were let loose into the wild. Anyways, while Zoe was chasing rabbits and rolling in dead fish by the river, me and my dad use to go on adventures and there were always several predatory killed remains of animals, and me being the weirdo that I am, I liked to collect the bones. I wasn’t fussy; I liked all bones of anything, skulls, limbs etc. I use to keep them on my bedroom windowsill along with my several dried out dead crabs. Sounds disgusting doesn’t it. Not sure what my thought behind this collection was but it does sound like the beginning of a serial killer biography haha!

Snails And Slugs

I really, really liked snails, not so much slugs but snails definitely were my favourite invertebrate as a child. Slugs were to slimy and gooey for my liking and those bloody yellow ones use to secrete horrible, sticky stuff when you tried to touch them. This did not stop myself, my friends Fiona and Stephanie trying to collect them one day in a forest by sticking them in our juice carton. I can’t rely recall what happened to them after that but pretty sure we didn’t keep them. Snails on the other hand were like a childhood craze in our neighbourhood along with tamagotchi’s, pogs, yo-yo’s, you remember. Me and my best friend Louise both had a fishtank-like container for them. I use to always feed them lettuce and stuff and what’s stranger is that I put them on the swing and pushed them and chucked them down the slide; you never know they might have enjoyed it. They also all had names, I use to paint their shell’s different colours with nail varnish and had an inventory of who was who in my notebook, sad child. I remember to this day a very traumatic experience, all my snails were out playing in my bedroom slithering across my carpet (lovely) and my friend Greg got up and stood on one and it squished everywhere. I remember crying hysterically over this 😦 He gave me one of his snails haha. It’s funny actually because I was working in Spain a couple of years ago and snails seemed to be attracted to our path in the garden and every morning we would wake to squished ones like oh no, my friend Angela and I must stand on them when drunk and in the dark. Her boyfriend use to have to scoop them up every day.

Peachy, Woodlice And The Earwig

Just a quick note on woodlice, like the snails they were also painted in nail varnish and had names uuurrrggghhh.

Peachy, my beloved maggot! Hahaha, I am being genuinely serious. So one day, I was digging n the garden looking for treasure as you do and I came across this worm/maggot thing, looked like a mix between the two to be honest. Not sure what it was but either way I took a shine to it, so this is what I did; I took a plastic cup filled half with soil and stuck it in there and pretty much left it. I checked on it everyday which I named peachy and use to put it in my bicycle basket when I cycled to the shop or just out to play. One day I came home and peachy and the cup was gone, turned out my mum through it out thinking it was rubbish; I was devastated.

The earwig, thinking back yuck, that little browny-black insect with pincers uuurrrghhh. I kept one as a pet, in a petri-glass cellotaped together in which it was given one drop of water a day to feed, nutritional haha. The sad thing is, this earwig went everywhere with me; was in my school bag at school, my briefcase when i was playing, yes I walked around with a black briefcase and generally everywhere. Can’t remember what happened to it, I imagine, it probably died.

The Spiders Nest

I’m pretty certain my arachnophobia has mostly arisen due to this. My dad was going to build a shed, all the materials use to lay in the back left corner of the garden. One day I approached it and it was covered in hundreds, maybe thousands of fast, scattering spiders. I do not mean the small ones either, I mean the house-spider lookalikes which are fairly large with horribly large abdominal’s. They were just constantly running in and out of gaps, over the top and around the whole area. As like a 6-year-old, I really, really didn’t like it and consequently Greg and myself use to spend hours with big metal shovels trying to smack them to get rid of them. After a few days we must have gave-up as not much progress was made, ultimately I just avoided the area.


My bedside drawers, all 3 of them i emptied and replaced the books/toys etc with soil, leaves and mud in which i filled with insects and snails. I thought I was being clever in that my parents didn’t know, but just on the phone to my mum a minute ago she confirmed my suspicion that all along she was rescuing these insects and putting them back outside.

One summer my parents brought out this huge, antique doll house out of the attic for me to look after and play with. What did I do? I filled it with soil, an abundance of different creepy crawlies in each room and shut it and kinda forgot about it. My mum opened it one day and I remember getting a huge row because it was completely ruined with soil and dried up insects everywhere.

Happy Times 🙂 RIP all my childhood creepy crawlies.

Plenty Of Fish Aka Pish Game


Sooooo, I came across the blog which i found hilarious. This guy joined plenty of fish (the dating website) and mailed girls telling them they are beautiful and then drawing them on paint really, really badly. As sad as it is, I genuinly found it quite funny so thought I would give it a go.

So made a fake profile and got bombarded with new messages. I must admit i used a very pretty girl as my profile pic to reel them in haha. Also came across my ex which i found quite funny, pointed it out to him and he deleted it promptly :p haha.

Anyways…It goes something like this.


Ok…that’s all im doing because I genuinly feel bad now. There are some really nice guys talking to me or my fake me and don’t want to upset them or actually just because it’s not actually me, silly I know. /fun while it lasted thou hahaha.

Time to delete the profile :p

Actually…change of plan 🙂 Just thought of something hahahaha. What if, when I draw these guys i add myself and a couple of children with a love heart. I wonder how they will react to that. For example:

This was not the reply i was expecting…once again, I feel bad. Enough is enough I think. Im sooooowwwwrrrryyyyy guys 😦




Google Auto Complete Is Silly

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Have you ever noticed how silly some of google’s search items are when you type in a couple of words into the search bar? hahaha…I will show you some examples:

Below is the 1st page I came across on google whilst clicking on i’m feeling lucky from the words “is it normal”!

Also…here are a few more examples of bizarre things that people look up…keep in mind the results google show are what people search most :p

Girls wearing condom’s, how would that even work???


That is all for now. I swear google use to have better ones, but maybe they cleaned the results up a little 😦 boo

Save the Blob Blobfish


Quite a short acrticle but this intrigued me…

I stumbled across this creature yesterday, it is a blobfish! I think it is awesome looking; the metro describes it as the most miserable-looking animal. Either way, thought I would give it a little publicity and awareness due to it being near extinction. The sad, old man-looking fish are only found in the depths of water off Australia and Tasmania and are rarely seen by humans hence why i’ve only just discovered it.

It’s funny because I showed my mum this photo and she thought it was just some clay-monster model or something or nothing. Anyways some facts about the blobby blob:

  • They have no need to hunt, they just open their mouth and swallow any “food” floating by that looks good
  • These blobs are in danger due to getting caught in nets for lobster catches
  • They have no muscle, infact they can’t really move…they just float around in the same place. Sounds fun
  • Therefore, they are classed as lazy
  • Too lazy to even smile?
  • The last blobfish spotted alive was back in 2005. They might already be extinct 😦
  • However, their legacy lives on within me 🙂


The Oil For Apes Scandal


I really like orangutans and I mean really, really like them. They are my favourite animal followed by the hippopotamus so it saddens me that due to agricultural deforestation, illegal hunting and the increase in palm oil plantations and demand they may become extinct in the wild jungles of Indonesia in as little as 10 years. The image above displays the more common sight seen nowadays. A baby clings to its mother after severely been beaten by locals, tied up and thrown in a small cage without food or water, left to die. The man of the jungle’s forest are disappearing and often go starving in search of food due to illegal logging companies tearing down their habitat to grow crops like palm oil. Farmers are often paid for the death of an orangutan, to them they are vermin eating their crops.

In reality, orangutans are the most intelligent primate and our closest blood relative, the only mammal that is self-aware (apart from humankind) and uses tools and problem thinking techniques to survive. Moreover, the orangutan has the longest reproductive cycle on the planet, only giving birth to one baby every 8 years and is dependant on its mother for an average of 8 years after birth. The bond between mother and child is similar to that of humans and separation has been shown to cause lifelong psychological damage to both mother and baby. It has also been documented that when a young dies, the mother continually carries the corpse for months in despair whilst trying to revive the young. Along with chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos, orangutans are great apes, sharing 97 per cent of their DNA with humans, having split from us a mere 13 million years ago. They exist only in these forests of Borneo and Sumatra, and it is their arboreal nature that leaves them so vulnerable to deforestation.

The primatologist Dr Willie Smits estimates that orangutans can distinguish between 1,000 different plants, knowing which ones are edible, which are poisonous, and which cure headaches. In her book Thinkers of the Jungle, the psychology professor Anne Russon recalled that one orangutan keeper took three days to solve the mystery of who’d been stealing from the fridge. It turned out that an orangutan had been using a paperclip to pick the lock of its cage, and then hiding the paperclip under its tongue.

In spite of this, humankind’s destructive ways continue to endanger these sensitive creatures for one specialist ingredient – palm oil.

Palm oil, a vegetable fat is extracted from the fruit of palm trees is treated and used for a variety of products including many processed foods, biodiesel and fabric conditioners. In fact, 1 in 10 supermarket products contain this tree-felling, wildlife-wrecking ingredient. Under current licensing and marketing laws, product branding only has to state vegetable fat but not the source or specifically the type. For example, it’s in our favourite bread (Warburtons, Hovis and Kingsmill), our butter (flora and clover), our cereal (Special K, Crunchy nut cornflakes), Cadbury’s and galaxy chocolates, dove soap and Persil. These are only examples, never mind supermarkets’’ own brands and all other products. We are all in fact eating a small slice of the rainforest, specifically Sumatra and Borneo which has one of the largest biodiverse ecosystems on earth until now.

Some 38 million tonnes of palm oil are produced globally, about 75 per cent in Malaysia and Indonesia. Borneo’s 11,000 square miles of plantations produce 10 million tonnes a year while Sumatra’s 14,000 square miles yield 13 million tonnes. Since 1990, the amount of land used for palm-oil production has increased by 43 percent. Demand is rising at between six and 10 per cent a year. China’s billion-plus population is the biggest consumer, importing 18 percent of global supply. About 16 percent arrives in the EU. Palm-oil plantations are barren places. When vast blocks of palms are planted in straight lines, stretching for mile after mile, 90 percent of the wildlife disappears. To make matters worse, due to rising demand, the price of palm oil has increased 88 percent and thus Indonesia are clearing thousands of acres of pristine rainforest to plant the crop. The image below displays the extent of deforestation in Borneo 1950-2010, and projection towards 2020.

So how badly affected are orangutans? Hardi Bantiantoro from the Centre for Orangutan Protection had this to say:

“I find dead orangutans, they have starved to death. There is no food, no water,” he said.  He tells me that on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan (formerly Borneo); more than ten orangutans are starving to death each day because of palm-oil driven deforestation. “The situation for orangutans today is very, very critical. The experts say the orangutans will be extinct in 2015. The orangutans will be extinct in next three years unless the government takes extreme action to save them. But instead they are planning convert 455,000 hectares of forest [in Kalimantan] into new plantations, mostly palm oil,” he said.

The workers on those plantations see orangutans as nuisances that trample and eat their crops. “The plantation workers have to protect the oil-palms. That is their job. To them the orangutan who is hunting for food is only a pest,” said Baktiantoro, clicking through slides on his laptop of orangutans whose fingers and hands have been mutilated by plantation workers, and others chained to workers’ dormitories.

The future looks bleak for the man of the forest, companies are deceiving us with their so called “sustainable” ingredients, deforestation continues as do plant oil production but there is hope! Charities and organisations like WWF, the orangutan foundation, the orangutan appeal and the international animal rescue organisation are all putting pressure on logging and palm oil companies to stop expanding further into the rainforests and local governments in Indonesia are currently setting up new, tougher licensing laws for such heartless companies whilst conservation of orangutans is becoming established. For now government laws enforce that caught orangutans are chucked in cells similar to jails to keep them off the crops. These cells are degrading, disgusting and drive the animals to zoochosis. They are often abused and continue their long lives in confinement until death.

The extinction of the 1st great ape will be a sad day. That day will bring further complications to the rainforests, ecosystems are very fragile and any slight distortion may have consequences for the rest of the wildlife. What we have to remember is that it’s through our own faults – too much pressure on world resources, agricultural and technological advancements, the population crisis, poverty and being the biggest predator on earth. Unlike the rest of the wildlife population, we exploit, abuse, kill and destroy animals and their habitats for many reasons, they only kill to survive. When you think about it, all wildlife would be flourishing if we were the 1st to become extinct. I hope orangutans don’t join the extinct list among the many others we have already killed off.

All I can say is I’m glad to have seen orangutans for myself, in a zoo but nevertheless in a few years time they may only be a memory of what once lived and a story for our grandchildren.

Palm oil facts

90 per cent of Sumatra’s orangutan population has disappeared since 1900. They now face extinction

90 per cent of wildlife disappears when the forest is replaced by palm, creating a biological desert

98 per cent of Indonesia’s forests may be destroyed by 2022 according to the United Nations

43 of Britain’s 100 top grocery brands contain or are thought to contain palm oil.

For more information on how orangutans are treated in Indonesia, read this blog. Particularly down the right hand side. If this doesn’t

convince you to care or do anything about such a topic, you are heartless.

Cathryn Gribben

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