It was over 10 years ago, that I went to Borneo, but what I saw there has changed my perception on palm oil forever. Initially we walked up Mount Kinabalu, a mountain located at the West Coast Division of Sabah, Malaysia. It is protected as Kinabalu Park, a World Heritage Site. It truly is a beautiful mountain mostly shrouded by rainforest and as such, the noise of animals is deafening. It is a cacophony of bird chirps, insects, snakes and every other animal living its best life. Then three quarters of the way up, the scenery changes and amazingly sparse but a stunning change. It was like we just stepped into a Japanese garden, with bonsai shaped tree sprinkled everywhere and the view... Wow.. the most breathtaking thing I have ever seen, Standing there above the clouds, made me feel like I was somewhere very very special. I was of course. If you get the chance, I highly recommend you go and stay the night at the top to experience such beauty and feel so humbled by what Earth creates.
I will not lie, the walk down was made slowly, in lots of pain as our legs had seized overnight, along with the scent of Tiger Balm all the way down. Once we got to the bottom we moved across to the Kinabatangan river. The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah emerging high in the Crocker Range and travelling 560km down to its mangrove swamp estuary into the Sulu Sea on the East coast of Sabah. The Kinabatangan River provides a unique and rich ecosystem and the concentration of wildlife in the lower reaches of the Kinabatangan River is remarkable and is acknowledged by experts to be the most varied and easily accessible wildlife in all of Southeast Asia.
It is also the place where my life changed and my awareness of forest destruction was heightened. We would do river cruises morning and night and to see wild orang-utans, pigmy elephants, Tucans, crocodiles, snakes and a whole host of exciting wildlife in the forest. Then we went further one day and it all stopped.
No forest, no animals, just broken down trees for a few meters and then neatly rowed palm oil trees lined one by one. I have literally never seen anything so heart breaking. To know the beautiful animals I had the privilege to see are slowly and surely being pushed out of their home and why... human demand and money.
As much as I would like to applaud human ingenuity and growth, this is 100% wrong in my eyes. To see the destruction right in front of me, as well as the death in the river from the toxins draining in to the river caused by the plantation was one thing.
To then take the trip to the local Orangutan Sanctuary, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is in the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo and was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve.
When Sabah became an independent state in Malaysia in 1963, a Game Branch was created in the Forest Department for the conservation of wild animals in the region. Consequently, 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve was turned into a rehabilitation site for orangutans, and a centre built to care for the apes. Today around 25+ young orphaned orangutans are housed in the nurseries, in addition to those free in the reserve. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which have been treated at the centre include; sun bears, gibbons, and elephants. What is the most striking when you go, is just how graceful and timid the orangutans are.
They are such beautiful animals, like little children wanting their moms to protect them, and the power they have is incredible and yet they dont use it, they would rather run away than run toward. Seeing them being looked after by these amazing people is eye opening and quite alarming that we put these beautiful animals in here, when we didnt need to. In this day an age, and now that we have been in Lockdown, it's very clear that the world thrives without us impacting them.
Not only is the disease killing us, we are the disease killing the rest of the world and not out of necessity but out of greed, of thinking more is better, when actually kindness and the simple things in life are more important. Since seeing all the devastation right in front of me, it made me change my approach and with that, we at 80Noir Ultra are always looking at ways to be more eco friendly, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
With that, we are proud to say that this company is Palm Oil Free and have stepped up to using eco friendly shipping boxes with our care packages so that you know whats coming through your door, not only tastes exceptional, but trying to have a small an impact on the animals and planet.