Bornean orangutan wading through the water in Kalimantan. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
One doesn’t have to be a scientist or a government official to help save the world’s vanishing rainforests, one can also be a chef. World-renowned chef Andre Chiang has added a new item to his menu called Orangutan Salad, reports the Wall Street Journal, which he hopes will raise awareness for the endangered apes at his Singapore eatery, Restaurant Andre. The new salad gives restaurant-goers the chance to enjoy all the subtle, earthy tastes of a typical orangutan meal, including ferns, fungi, figs, berries, leaves, and flowers.
Not content to just raise awareness, Chiang is planning to source these wild ingredients from villagers in Indonesian Borneo, putting a cash value on vanishing rainforests. Kalimantan, Indonesia’s state on the island of Borneo, is racked by deforestation for palm oil and logging. Recent satellite data has shown that Kalimantan has lost nine percent of its tropical forests in just eight years—one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.
“For [the villagers] it’s just five minutes’ walk into the jungle to pick, but they don’t see the value of it,” Chiang told the Wall Street Journal. “They say this is everywhere, but for us it’s fantastic.”
Restaurant Andre is listed as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world by San Pellegrino and one of the New York Times’ top 10 restaurants worth a plane trip.
Orangutans in Indonesian Borneo doomed to extinction?
(11/14/2011) A new study finds orangutans in Indonesian Borneo in unprotected areas are being killed at a rate faster than what population viability analysis considers sustainable. Conflict between orangutans and humans is worst in areas that have been fragmented and converted for timber, wood-pulp, and palm oil production, but hunting is occurring in relatively intact forest zones away from industrial development.
(02/19/2011) 1,200 orangutans set for reintroduction into the wild in Indonesian Borneo will be immediately at risk from poaching and illegal logging, warned an orangutan welfare group.
(12/15/2010) Michelle Desilets, Executive Director of the Orangutan Land Trust, spoke with Laurel Neme on her ‘The WildLife’ radio show and podcast about the process of rehabilitating orphaned orangutans and teaching them to be wild. This is the second in a two-part interview. The first part covered orangutan biology, habits and the interconnected threats, from the pet trade to habitat loss and expansion of oil palm plantations, facing these creatures. This second part focuses on what happens to surviving orangutans.