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 at Ketapang Airport in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo where you will be met by a member of the team and transferred to the volunteer house which will be your home for the duration of the project. Upon arrival there will be a welcome dinner and orientation with the project staff and your fellow volunteers.
Day 2-10/21 - Project Days:
During this time you will be working six days a week at the centre and getting involved with a variety of activities. The work varies greatly month by month due to the unpredictable nature of what takes priority on a day to day basis, however, for a guideline of the activities you may be a part of, please check the tab above.
Day 11/22 - Final Day:
This will be your last full day at the project site and after saying goodbye to the orangutans you will enjoy a farewell dinner with the project facilitators and the rest of your group.
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 helping with the build of a fully functional orangutan sanctuary and rehabilitation centre in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

New Construction at the centre

New Construction at the centre

You will work at IAR’s temporary wildlife conservation and rescue centre in Ketapang, on the construction of the much-needed, new orangutan sanctuary. With the centre expanding, you may partake in helping to erect electric fences and mix concrete to make bases for new cages to stand on. Also the building of boardwalks and bridges to make access easier for personnel and new climbing towers and feeding platforms for the orangutans in the forest school areas may be required.



Due to the damp tropical nature of the area and the boisterousness of the orangutans, boardwalks and towers often need general upkeep and repair. The insides of buildings need repainting and cages regularly need their structural enrichment changed.



You will also be involved in the process of producing enrichment for the resident orangutans. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance the potential for rehabilitation to release as well as improve the lives of the orangutans. Please note that there will be NO direct contact with orangutans during this or any other activity but you will get the chance to watch them from a safe distance enjoy the enrichment you have created.

Farming and planting

Farming and planting

To help keep the food bills down the centre is growing it's own local produce to help feed the orangutans. This involves activities from planting fruit trees and harvesting vegetables to making organic compost. As more land is being bought some areas of it need may also need reforesting.

Cage Maintenance

Cage Maintenance

All the cages at the centre need regular maintenance, especially in terms of changing the fixed enrichment of hammocks, ropes and tyres. The orangutans in the large socialisation cages can be particularly destructive and enjoy taking things apart. All new cages always need to be fitted with various items along with hammocks in all the night cages. You will often make the new hammocks and swings and fit them into the various cages.

Day Off

Day Off

On your day off each week you will get to explore other areas of Ketapang. Hutan Kota is a natural park where you may get the chance to see wild proboscis and macaque monkeys as they make their way to the rivers edge to settle for the night. 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, a Buddhist temple and numerous local shops, and you will also get the opportunity to visit the old Transit site, though no longer in use by IAR you can see what the centre has evolved from.

Additional Information

Group Size Up to 8 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


Carina Fiedler - 2016

One of the things I enjoyed most about the project was our sleepover in the jungle. The jungle is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I also liked the evenings when we were sitting outside on the terrace of the volunteer house and playing cards.

Lauren Speakman - 2016

An amazing and rewarding experience that I will never forget. The centre is run extremely well, the people are welcoming. I learnt so much about Orangutans and conservation in general, it was all very eye opening! I think the no contact policy is fantastic, as you learn why this is so important. We were very fortunate to see many of the Orangutans at the site, and many babies! The Great Projects describes the trip very well and accurately. I would definitely recommend everyone to just go for it!

Lynn Hempsall - 2016

It is impossible to single out any one part of the trip. It was hard in parts both mentally and physically but the experiences I had were priceless. Even though it's a cliché, it has changed my outlook on life.