“Leading global consumer products company poised to destroy Ivory Coast’s rainforests as both investor and customer, pushing three primates to extinction, just after its future commitment to rainforest protection and certifies oil palm in 2015 was much heralded by some.

One of Côte d’Ivoire most important primary rainforests is to be cleared by global consumer product company Unilever and others, despite Unilever’s recent promises to buy only “sustainable” palm oil from lands not cleared of rainforests for their production. Tanoé Swamps Forest in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the country and the last refuge for three highly endangered primates -the Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus, the Geoffroy’s colobus and the Diana roloway -as well as home to many endangered plant species.

Tanoé Forest is thought to contain the last remaining population of Piliocolobus waldronae (known as Miss Waldron’s Red Colobus). This is a species formerly widespread in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, but hunted to extinction over most of its range and declared extinct in 1998; yet a freshly shot specimen was found, in the early 2000s, having been hunted in the Tanoé Forest. If Unilever goes ahead with this project, it may be the first time in history that any company has deliberately profited from the extinction of a species.

Despite international protests, the palm oil company PALM-CI has just begun destroying this 6,000 hectare forest to convert it to oil palm plantations. They are currently building drainage systems at the periphery and, once the rainy season is over, they intend to clearcut all of the forest. If the forest is destroyed, the three primate species as well as many plant species will almost certainly become globally extinct. Large amounts of carbon dioxide will be released from the carbon-rich swamp forests.”