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Annalisa L. Sharkey
Graduate Student
annalisa.sharkey@gmail.com
Center for Conservation Medicine
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
The Demise of the Forest People: Malaysian Palm Oil and the Threats Facing the Orangutan

In this case study, the complexity of the Malaysian palm oil industry is examined through the perspective of various stakeholders, namely, villagers, corporations, orangutans, smallholders, conservationists, and an average consumer. Students learn about the plight of the orangutan and the environmental impacts of the palm oil industry but also understand the influence of global markets and the effect of their own purchases. Students are challenged to make ethical decisions, propose policy recommendations, and examine their own contributions to the demand for palm oil. The aim of the case is to provide students with tools to personally champion change. The case is appropriate for undergraduate students in wildlife, ecology, biology, or related classes but can also be tailored for advanced high school science courses.