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The Baudó oropendola (Psarocolius cassini) is considered rare and localised. It is endemic to a small area of moist tropical lowland forests in Colombia between 100 – 365 meters in elevation. This species prefers forests found along rivers and coastal plains, which are traditionally the first areas to be deforested for development. The Baudó oropendola numbers continue to decline largely due to habitat loss from logging, mining, agriculture and palm oil plantations.
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet. Demand for this oil has led to uncontrolled plantation expansion around the world, which has been connected to the destruction of habitat not only for the Baudó oropendola, but also other endangered species, including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos. As a natural history artist for conservation, I strive to highlight birds, animals and natural phenomena that too often go unnoticed. My goal is to raise awareness for this species and contribute to conservation efforts. We can all make a positive impact for species in peril by being aware of the products we purchase. Look for RSPO labels on foods that use palm oil harvested and manufactured in socially and environmentally responsible ways.