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Iceland sets orangutan free in capital after its festive commercial is banned

In the midst: Orangutan in London PICTURE: PA

ICELAND has unleashed an animatronic orangutan on the streets of London after its Christmas TV ad, highlighting how palm oil production threatens the species, was banned.

The life-size puppet was seen walking near St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday to remind people 25 orangutans die every day because of rainforest destruction.

It comes after the supermarket chain’s festive advert was last week banned by regulators for being ‘too political’.

The animated commercial, originally made by Greenpeace, tells the story of a girl who is perturbed to find a baby orangutan, named Rang-tan in her bedroom.

‘Too political’: Iceland’s banned TV ad

Voiced by Dame Emma Thompson, it highlights the dangers of palm oil — a common ingredient in supermarket products.

More than 600,000 people have signed a petition calling for the ban to be lifted and the ad, viewed 12million times on Facebook, has been backed by stars such as James Corden.

Iceland has vowed to take palm oil out of 130 food lines by the end of the year.

Its managing director Richard Walker said: ‘We are determined to be at the forefront of efforts to guarantee palm oil is not causing rainforest destruction.’

Richard George, of Greenpeace, said Iceland’s advert had ‘raised the debate’ and he reminded the big brands they had ‘the power to change the industry’.