Talk to the hand casue the palm ‘aint wanted.

Guest post by Carol Jackson, author of Julie & Kishore

I clutch my mum tighter but she does not hold me back. The noise of a fire crackling close by is scary and the smell of smoke fills my nostrils. Cowering, I bury my nose into her hair. I can still hear loud bangs in the distance but they are quite far away now. Still my mum doesn’t move and I feel something liquidity and sticky on her. I am so thirsty but I try to sleep and wait for mum to wake up.
I hear human voices and quickly open my eyes, “Here is a female and a baby. I think the little one is still alive, look it’s moving.”
I feel soft hands upon me and hear a kind voice murmuring, “It’s okay little one, let’s just have a look at you. Jan, I think you should take this one…another murdered orangutan, another orphan come on let’s get him to the clinic.”
I feel hands on me, pulling me, trying to lift me off my mum. Wait! Don’t take me away from my mum. I try to wriggle free, I try to hold onto her, but the hands that are holding me are stronger, “I am so sorry little one, we have to take you with us, it is not safe for you here.”


It was my first day on the job. I was under no illusion that what I was going to face would be horrific but nothing could prepare me for the devastation I was to face. The smell of burning wood was strong, little hot spots of fire were still alight and a mist of smoke surrounded us. Stretching ahead as far I could see was bare burnt out land. This area up until very recently was acres and acres of tropical forest, home to hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals and insects. Now it is all gone. The animals that had not burnt to death were shot to ensure the area was clear for oil palm tree plantations. Palm oil is taken from the fruit of the tree and used in many household products.
I was part of a rescue team, to find animals that were still alive, get them to safety and assist with the on-going care that they would need.
I am Jan, the person who took that little baby away from its dead mother. We had not been walking far that morning and I was trying to take in just what was going on around me when one of my team saw them, the dead mother and the little body clinging onto her. His soulful, innocent eyes – the look of fear and sadness on his tiny face, to pull him from her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. He clung desperately to his mum, how could he leave her? How could he understand?
When I first became aware of the palm oil issue, I made it my own mission to check every ingredient on every package that I bought to make sure it did not contain palm oil. But then I learnt that palm oil could be labelled as other things, so I did my research and checked for that as well. Although I was vigilant and told everyone I knew of the palm oil plight, in my heart of hearts I knew that whatever I was doing was not enough, I had to do more. I was grateful to be given the opportunity to come here and be involved. Although palm oil production is a billion dollar industry and a major export for countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, the people are suffering along with the animals. Those living on rural farms are being forced from their land to make way for oil palm tree plantations and children are forced to work in terrible conditions.
As I wrenched that little baby orangutan from his dead mother and felt his trembling body in my arms, I wiped my own tears on my sleeve. I felt his long trusting arms wrap tightly around my neck.


Books by Carol Jackson

Julie & Kishore ~ View on Bookshelves | Amazon link unavailable.

Julie & Kishore ~ View on Bookshelves | View on Amazon

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  1. It is a shame what the greed of a few can do to so many others, animals and people alike. I do not know how they can sleep at night. I prepare my own baked goods for the most part and buy raw nuts but I will watch out for palm oil. I know I have seen that in candies and products with nuts, maybe the popcorn and margarine which I no longer eat. There are always alternatives.

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