South East Asia

Borneo Orangutan Sanctuary

From AU$2445
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2 weeks or more
18yrs and above
Volunteer
Animal

What is the Orangutan Sanctuary program?

This award-winning rescue and rehab centre is a refuge for all Sarawak's protected wildlife species including gibbons, sun bears, macaques, civet cats, sambar deer, porcupines and crocodiles as well as many native birds such as hornbills.  The undoubted star attraction, though is Borneo's most fascinating and enchanting resident – the orangutan – and it is the care of rescued, injured or orphaned orangutans which is the project’s speciality.

You will assist the project staff with a variety of vital tasks across the centre and in doing so you’ll make an important difference to conservation efforts in Borneo.

What did previous participants think?

“Best experience of my life, my first solo trip! The wildlife centre is incredible, my favourite part was working with the orangutans but I also fell in love with so many other animals like sunbears, slow loris and the various monkeys. I have so much respect and admiration for the conservation staff, their passion and hard work inspired me to get the job done, they are full of knowledge and willing to take the time to educate us about the animals. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone and everyone, every day was different and it was great to be around like minded people”  Angelinah from QLD

Where will I stay?

Each volunteer house has a maximum four people in twin-share bedrooms, there is a communal living space, fan-cooling, a basic kitchen, toilet, cool shower and veranda.  These wooden houses are original structures built in 1997, they are government owned and have undergone precious little maintenance over their years of wear and tear in the jungle. Please do not expect shiny, new and pristine lodgings – expect well-used jungle cabins and an authentic Bornean experience! 

Meals are self-catered and in the kitchen there are basic appliances such as a gas hob, fridge/freezer, kettle and toaster.  You will receive a daily allowance for food and water and weekly supermarket trips are provided to stock up.

What will I do?

You will engage in a wide variety of activities, of which your main focus is providing enrichment and husbandry for the orangutans, sun-bears, macaques, and other animals.  You’ll help with:

Enrichment – Orangutans are one of the cleverest animals in the world and they constantly need new things to keep them stimulated. You’ll help create this enrichment, which will help to encourage their natural behaviour whilst they go through rehabilitation. Enrichment for the many animals at the centre is one of the most important jobs you will have, it is an essential task to maintain both mental and physical health.

Husbandry - cleaning the enclosures, feeding and caring for the orangutan, sun bears and smaller primates.  Leaf collection so that the Orangutans can build their nests is also crucial, so be prepared for some treks out into the jungle!

Maintenance and Construction – you might help with building new enclosures, climbing structures or feeding platforms for orangutan, sun bears, clouded leopards or binturongs; or the creation of ponds for crocodiles.  The rainforest is a harsh environment for any man-made structure and anything we build needs regular cleaning, painting and repairing to ensure that is does not rust or rot.  You will help with general maintenance including fencing or clearing of invasive vegetation.

Working with the Sun Bears – At the project site you will also be able to work with the resident Sun Bears. You’ll help with enrichment and general enclosure upkeep of one of the world’s rarest bear species!

Organic Farming – Over the past few years volunteers have helped create an organic farm to help grow food for the animals, all in the name of long term sustainability.   

It should be noted that there is no physical contact with the orangutan at any time.

Weekends  For many people this will be a once in a lifetime trip to Borneo and volunteers generally take advantage of the weekends to explore the surrounding area.  Kuching and many of the other Sarawak highlights are with an hour's drive - taxi services are inexpensive, especially when shared between a group.  There is much to discover nearby – head into Kuching or choose from a wealth of nearby National Parks (Bako, Gunung Gading and Kubah), check out Damai Beach or Sarawak Cultural Village or grab a low cost flight and head to Sabah for the weekend.

Included in your project is a trip to Semenggoh, Sarawak’s second orangutan rehabilitation centre. This centre was established in the 70s and has a small population of semi-wild orangutan. It is a good opportunity to see orangutan living in the trees and a chance to understand the relationship between tourism and the rehabilitation centres.

How do I apply?

If you're interested and want some more info or to apply to this program, chuck in your details below or download the info pack and someone will be in touch to help you out!

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