Be Sweet to Your Animal Friends This Halloween

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Be Sweet to Your Animal Friends This Halloween

As Halloween is quickly approaching, no matter what everyone’s plans are, most of us are thinking about all the candy! From M&M’s and Laffy Taffy to Butterfingers and Sour Patch Kids…I can almost taste the sugar rush! During Halloween and other candy-filled seasons however, it’s important for my family and me to remember to be sweet to our animal friends in the wild and purchase candy made using sustainable palm oil.

Palm oil is the most widely used form of edible vegetable oil on Earth and is obtained from the fruit of the African oil palm tree. Palm oil is used in nearly 50% of all household products in the United States including beauty products, candy, frozen foods, bath products, crackers, pet food, and more.

Chances are, everyone eats or uses palm oil every day. 

The African oil palm tree originates in West Africa but flourishes in any tropical climate with high heat and abundant rainfall. The majority of these trees are grown in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra, the same area which orangutans, Sumatran tigers, rhinos, sun bears, clouded leopards, and many other species inhabit. 

Over the past 30 years, the demand for palm oil has continued to rapidly increase, and there are no signs of slowing down anytime soon. To meet these demands, the habitats of native species are being destroyed and cleared to make way for new plantation farms to be developed and to expand existing farms. The deforestation due to palm oil has been devastating for many animals, especially the critically endangered orangutan populations. At this rate, many believe wild orangutans could be extinct in as little as 20 years. 

Thankfully, there are extensive efforts underway to help build a better palm oil industry without negatively impacting native wildlife and many companies are making commitments to wildlife by only using sustainable palm oil in their products. One small way you can help is by purchasing and using products made with sustainable palm oil. I know that adding one more thing to our plate to worry about seems impossible, but fortunately for us, there are many conservation groups and resources to help us easily identify candy and other household products that are made with sustainable palm oil. 

The best resource for me is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping app. This app is easy to use and with just a quick barcode scan or product search, users receive all the information needed about that product and the palm oil used within. Additionally, the app is constantly being updated to include new products, news about palm oil, other ways you can help this crisis, and more.

Click here to learn more about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Palm Oil Shopping app!

This Halloween, I challenge you to be sweet to wildlife and get your kids involved for a teachable moment on how they can help save animals in the wild with their choice of candy! 

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Hi! I am Hannah Hammon, a dog mom to two rescue girls, Giggles and Dottie, and a precious little boy. I grew up in Fort Payne, Alabama and moved to Chattanooga in 2008 to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and I plan to never leave! I love Chattanooga and am so excited to grow our family in this great city. I currently work for the Chattanooga Zoo as the Director of Advancement. As an animal conservationist and lover of non-profits, I love my job! It is a great feeling to know that my daily tasks in the workplace are going for a greater good to help care for the animals at the zoo, protect animals in the wild, and spread awareness about dangers animals are facing. And, for me, there is no better work environment than that with some of the most exotic and cutest faces from all over the world to remind me why I do what I do every day. My husband, Kyle, and I have been married for 5 years now, but grew up only about a mile apart and attended K-12th Grade together. We both have a love for traveling, sports, comedy, and craft beer. We are both foodies, have learned to love the outdoors, and enjoy experiencing all that Chattanooga offers. In most aspects, I think we have the exact same personality, except he is a lot funnier than me.