How You Can Help
Orangutans in the wild are facing a bleak future due to human encroachment on their land, deforestation, poaching, logging, mining and forest fires which are serious problems threatening the species.
There is a real danger that orangutans could become extinct in the near future which is a sad reality. Due to de-forestation orang-utans are facing an uncertain future in the wild but lots of inspiration work is being done in places like the world famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre to protect the wildlife and give them medical attention if they are injured.
There are lots of wildlife organisations and local centres working to conserve this great species and you can apply to help too. Working with orangutans in Borneo is one of the most popular programs we offer on our website. There are short and long term conservation volunteer opportunities, tours and educational initiatives where you can learn more about the animals and efforts being made to protect them.
This is a really enriching way to have a holiday and do something rewarding and worthwhile - whilst getting to visit and live in a new destination. There are several programs available where you can work to help organ-utan conservation efforts on the Indonesian island of Java and also in Borneo. Assistance is needed all year round and just seeing these ancient creatures up close is a special experience and by volunteering you will be able to really help.
This will be a trip which will stay with you forever, possibly you are planning a holiday and would like to do something rewarding or you just love wildlife, we can't recommend orangutan volunteer programs highly enough.
Where You Can Help
Most programs have a focus on preservation and rehabilitation, these are wild animals (not pets) and you might be restricted to participating and helping from a distance. This is because places like the Sepilok Centre in Borneo want the orang-utans to live in a 'normal' environment as possible whilst restricting hands on contact also reduces the chances of humans passing on illness/disease. Also on a lot of projects you won't get hands on contact, usually full time local staff will be the only people who get to feed the orang-utans.
Some programs involve working alongside other international volunteers and also local staff rehabilitating orang-utans and then releasing the beautiful animals back into the wild. You will get to help with daily activities like cleaning enclosures, collecting food, sometimes caring and rehabilitating and also running educational awareness material. If you choose Borneo as your destination there are so many places you can visit, you can also combine experiences and also volunteer with sea turtles on the island too.
We also promote a general wildlife assistant placements where you will be able to work hands on with other animals - tasks can include feeding and cleaning areas. Participating on a program will be an unforgettable experience.
Most placements require you to join for 2 weeks or longer and there are start dates all year round.
No previous experience with animals is usually required to participate but if you have any skills like veterinary this can mean you get a more advanced role. Most organisations will require you to be aged 18+ but check each opportunitiy individually. Sometimes you might be required to work in hot and humid conditions taking part in physical labour for example mending, fixing and constructing new enclousures so you will need a moderate level of fitness. You will need to be adaptable, able to work in a team, committed and have a positive attitude which will make the experience more enjoyable.
When you apply you will be sent an information packing on what to expect and what vaccinations and innolculations that might be needed prior to arrival. If you are looking to participate in some parts of Boreo malaria is a risk and so you might want to visti your local GP or get medication in advance of departing.
You will only need a tourist visa which is granted on arrived in most destinations.
Each project is different but usually you will work Monday to Friday with weekend free to relax and go sightseeing.
How to Apply
You can apply through an international travel sending agency or direct with a local organisation. You might be aksed to pay a fee, this can include a whole package including flights, accommodation, transfers, meals and in country support and a donation which goes towards the general running costs of a wildlife sanctuary and also saving natural habitat. This donation which helps keep orangutan conservation centres operational all year round and goes towards creating education outreach projects. You might also like to view more low cost volunteer programs in Asia.
Reviews & Testimonals
"I can't actually think of one favourite moment as I enjoyed the whole experience. Being able to work so closely with the orangutans was a truly amazing experience, they are such special, intelligent animals and I loved every minute of my time there.” - Jennifer Ravat, a previous volunteer with The Great Projects
"For me, the relationships we developed with the orang utans made each day a special one – whether it was giving Anne a bath; watching Rosalinda sleeping in her hammock; giving Joey a cuddle; trying to stop Amoi from running underneath the buildings; taking the babies out on the ropes; watching those orang utans who have already been rehabilitated swinging in the trees; or hundreds of other experiences we had each day that made us realise how lucky we were to be there." Michelle Hatfield, previous volunteer with Travellers Worldwide
If you have ever participanted on an orangutan program and would like to share your experience contact us today.