IAR Orangutan Project

From £875.00 £743.75

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 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. You will also contribute to the building of boardwalks and bridges, making access easier for personnel. You will also work on the construction of climbing towers and feeding platforms for the orangutans in the forest school areas.



Due to the damp tropical nature of the area and the boisterousness of the orangutans, the boardwalks and towers here often need general upkeep and repair. The insides of buildings need repainting and cages regularly need their structural enrichment changed as this keeps the orangutans entertained. Maintenance is a crucial task and the help volunteers provide is invaluable, so just be prepared to get your hands dirty!



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 improving 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, enjoying the enrichment you have created.

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. 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. This is a very hands-on task which gives you the chance to see the difference you are making first-hand.

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 of 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 river's 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 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


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.