IAR Orangutan Project

From £875.00

Work with International Animal Rescue on the rehabilitation of Indonesia's beautiful orangutans



Project Description

This project involves working with International Animal Rescue(IAR) at an orangutan rescue centre in Ketapang, Indonesia. The aim here was to build a new orangutan rescue and rehabilitation centre and plans were approved on 2010 to start this work. Since then the first phase has bee completed and phase 2 is currently in progress.

Phase 1 included constructing a lot of the base buildings that were required including quarantine areas and medical facilities along with the first set of enclusires. Now the project continues into phase 2 with more enclosures and also care for the current orangutans housed here required.

This is one of the biggest conservation projects currently happening in Borneo but will mean that there is another safe haven on the island of Borneo for the increasingly endangered orangutan.

Why This Project Needs Volunteers

Volunteers on this project play an absolutely crucial role. As the centre is one of the biggest and most ambitious Orangutan conservation projects ever undertaken, it is always hands on deck for the volunteers at the site! Although the work is hard and sometimes very labour intensive, it is incredibly rewarding and makes an immeasurable difference to the lives of the orangutans at the project.

Borneo and especially Indonesian Borneo still falls victim to the use of slash and burn techniques which is causing devastating loss to the forest areas and in turn the loss of habitat for the wildlife.

IAR need assistance in replanting in the areas around the project so as to keep the orangutans, along with a number of other animals, safe and to provide them with a home for the future.


Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
You will arrive in to Ketapang Airport in West Kalimantan, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to the volunteer house which will be your home for the duration of the project. Get to know your fellow volunteers over a welcome dinner, undertake an orientation with the project staff, and settle in for the night – you have a busy day ahead!
Day 2-10/21 - Project Days:
During this time, you will be working six days a week between the hours of 9am and 4pm (with Saturdays as a ‘half day.’) You will undertake an array of activities as listed in the previous section of this page, however much of your work will involve construction and maintenance. Your tasks will be determined by necessity, with itineraries varying from month to month due to the unpredictable nature of the project. Sundays will be spent at leisure.
Day 11/22 - Final Day:
This will be your final full day at the project site, and after saying goodbye to the orangutans you will enjoy a farewell dinner with your group. Make sure to get plenty of rest in preparation for your journey home!
Day 12/23 - Transfer to Ketapang:
Today is your last day, and you will take a private transfer to Ketapang Airport for your return flight home, or to commence your onward independent travel plans.

What will I be doing?

This programme is designed to support International Animal Rescue by providing help at their orangutan rehabilitation centre in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, by way of the activities listed below. Please note that these activities are not guaranteed, and that your time at the centre may vary from what is described below.



You will work at IAR’s wildlife conservation and rescue centre in Ketapang on an array of tasks, which will vary depending on what is most necessary at the time. Activities may vary from helping to erect fences, to building walkways for members of staff and other volunteers to use. You may also work on the construction of feeding platforms for the centre's younger orangutans, among other tasks put in place to aid the animals at the centre.



Borneo's humid climate means that certain structures (such as enclosures, boardwalks and towers) require constant upkeep - add to that the boisterous nature of some of the orangutans, it comes as no surprise that maintenance is such a vital and common task at the centre! Your involvement here could entail anything from repainting buildings to repairing enclosures damaged by the apes, to name but a couple of possibilities - no matter what this task entails, it is certainly necessary, so be prepared to be flexible and to put in hard work.



Enrichment is key to keeping the orangutans at the centre stimulated, and you will be involved in the process of making enrichment for the apes. These activities help to promote natural behaviours in the orangutans, drastically enhancing their potential for release. This activity may include setting up hammocks, ropes, and swing tires for the orangutans to play with, as well as using natural materials (such as leaves and bamboo) to create fun puzzles stuffed with fruits and nuts. This is one of the most important and enjoyable activities at the centre and will help to keep the animals active and entertained!

Farming and Planting

Farming and Planting

To help keep the food bills down, the centre is growing its own local produce to help feed the orangutans. You will take part in organic farming activities during your time here, including planting fruit trees and harvesting vegetables.



Due to the wildfires of 2015, tens of thousands of hectares of forest were affected. International Animal Rescue has been working on various reforestation initiatives to replant lost segments of forest and restore important orangutan habitat, carrying out work alongside local communities who have an important relationship with the forest. IAR plans to plant thousands of trees and this work is a fabulous way for volunteers to get involved. There are few more tangible contributions that you can make to secure the long-term survival of the orangutan than planting a tree.

Day Off

Day Off

On your day off each week, you will have the opportunity to explore other areas of Ketapang such as Hutan Kota, a natural park where you may spot proboscis monkeys! There are also local beaches where you can watch the sunset whilst enjoying a relaxing drink from a coconut. The town of Ketapang has markets, numerous shops, and a Buddhist temple– why not explore some of the local culture?

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 7 People
Meals All Meals Included
Duration 11 - 22 Nights
Start Dates 9th & 20th Of Every Month
Minimum Age Minimum Age 18
Getting There

You will need to arrive into Ketapang Airport on the start date of your project between 7am and 5pm, where you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred to the volunteer house. On the first night there is a welcome dinner where you will meet your fellow volunteers and project coordinators. Ketapang airport can be reached via Jakarta and is serviced by Garuda Airlines.

Visa Requirements

You will need a tourist visa to join this project. You will be able to get one of these on arrival in Indonesia, but please note that you may have to pay the fee of $25 for a 30-day visa.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. 1 IDR is approximately 0.00006 GBP, 0.00009 USD and 0.00007 EUR

What's included in the price of the project?
  • Airport transfers
  • Overland transportation
  • Accommodation and meals
  • Local guides
  • English speaking project leader
  • A donation
What's not included?
  • All flights and visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages


Chris Allen - 2018

Would like to make a special mention for the volunteer facilitator Meggie who was fantastic. Made sure we had everything, really good fun and dedicated to her work.

Genevieve D'Silva - 2018

Favourite Moment: Seeing the baby orang-utans in the jungle. We were lucky to see how the baby orang-utans use the enrichment packages that we made. We had a very well rounded trip. We got to do a range of different activities. We felt that we had helped the project with our work. The facilitator Meggie was fantastic. She was enthusiastic, a great motivator, terrific singer and all round wonderful person. Second only to the orang-utans, she would be my favourite memory.

Laura Smith - 2018

I'll never forget visiting the baby school on our last day and watching the little ones cover themselves in sawdust and enjoy the enrichment we had made them.

Rebecca Barton - 2017

It was amazing meeting the entire team and working alongside such dedicated people, whilst having the orangutans watching us whilst we worked!

Ben Stephenson - 2017

Interacting with the Orangutans while repairing the boardwalk or in Kindergarten and baby school doing enrichment activities was incredible, but what made the whole experience was seeing a small part of the real Indonesia - there were always smiling faces waving at us!

Nadine Thompson - 2017

It is impossible to single out only one memorable moment. The entire experience will definitely stay with me forever. I really hope to return someday!

Sára Veszprémi - 2017

I loved seeing the baby orangutans in school and in the kindergarten! I would really like to thank my facilitators. Hery and Matt are the best team!

Nicole Tacconi - 2017

Seeing the babies in baby school and kindergarten was incredible. Matt and Heri are the best facilitators! Everyone that I met during my stay was incredible.

Benjamin Smith - 2017

At 3pm every day the babies would trundle past in their wheelbarrows. The curiosity, togetherness and all round sweetness was an absolute joy to behold. My heart would sing with emotion.