Volunteer at an award-winning Orangutan Volunteer Centre in beautiful Borneo
This multi-award-winning orangutan project based at Matang Wildlife Centre allows you the chance to get involved with the conservation and protection of one of the world's most fascinating and enchanting species – the Bornean orangutan.
Due to mass deforestation, mining and forest fires, the habitat of the area's orangutans is depleting and under constant threat. As a consequence, the species is increasingly endangered. Matang Wildlife Centre is a refuge for orangutans which have been left injured, orphaned or have been rescued, usually as a direct result of these threats. The centre works tirelessly to reverse this trend in a number of ways and is thoroughly enriched by the involvement of volunteers.
On this project you will enjoy the incredible rainforest surroundings of Kubah National Park as your backyard, and work as part of a team alongside the local facilitators to aid the centre through improving husbandry standards, providing enrichment for the orangutans and assisting with construction tasks. This allows the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (who manage the centre which is owned by the Sarawak government) to concentrate on the rehabilitation of the orangutans and the centre's other animals.
Volunteers on this project will help to look after the injured, orphaned and rescued Orangutans which come into the centre. Due to the constant changes in the number of Orangutans in the centre at any one time, volunteers are always needed to help; create enrichment toys, with the husbandry on site, and with any new construction projects that need to be completed.
As a volunteer you will be acting as pseudo staff, so will help make up the numbers of hands required to cover the busy working week at the sanctuary.
On this project you will have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities. Your main focus, however, will consist of providing enrichment and husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals. Additionally, you'll have time to explore the areas surrounding the project - so why not see how you could spend your downtime by clicking here?
A major part of this project revolves around the creation of enrichment. This is the process of providing the animals with stimulating environments and activities designed to promote their natural behaviours, which in turn may enhance their potential for release. Enrichment can also be used to improve the quality of life for the animals at the centre, with existing ideas, such as puzzle feeders and bubbles, providing a sense of entertainment as well as mental and sensory stimulation.
Husbandry for the orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturongs and other animals is an important part of a day’s work at Matang. This activity includes feeding the animals and cleaning their enclosures – both essential elements of any wildlife centre. Be prepared to get your hands dirty, as this can be messy work!
Construction tasks allow the centre to continue to grow, and as a volunteer you may help to construct aviaries, enclosures, feeding platforms in the forest, boardwalks around the park, or even ranger stations in the national park. The more construction that is completed, the more animals the centre will be able to accept in the hope of rehabilitating and releasing as many of them as possible.
Over the past few years, volunteers have helped the project to create an organic farm in order to grow food for the animals, which in turn has boosted the centre’s sustainability. The team are determined to keep their produce organic, and therefore, you may spend some time tending to the farm. Please note, this is only an occasional activity and is not a guaranteed part of your itinerary.
Volunteers provide crucial support with maintenance at the centre, and without the added manpower, the project team would not be able to continue their conservation efforts in the way that they currently do. Whether you assist with painting, cleaning, varnishing or gardening, there is always work to be done!
You will have two consecutive days off per week; this is likely to be a weekend, but it could vary depending on which day you start the project. You will most likely have travelled a long way to reach Borneo, so we always suggest taking advantage of any free time to explore the surrounding area! Whether you’re looking to unwind by the ocean or explore a little more of Kuching’s culture, there’s something for everybody – so why not see how you could spend your downtime by <a href="https://www.thegreatprojects.com/blog/the-great-orangutan-project-free-time">clicking here?</a>
During your time on the project, you will visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, which is home to a number of semi-wild orangutans that have either been orphaned or rescued from captivity. Whilst these animals now roam the forest freely, they do come back to feeding platforms twice a day, and it is here where you will hope to get a glimpse of them up close.
|Group Size||Up to 12 People|
|Meals||All Meals Included|
|Duration||7 - 28 Nights|
|Start Dates||5th and 19th of Every Month|
|Minimum Age||Minimum Age 17 (Or From 14 Years Old With An Adult)|
You will need to arrive at Kuching Airport on the start date of your project between 7am and 5pm, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to your first nights accommodation where you will enjoy a welcome dinner with the project facilitators and other volunteers.
There is no visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia as a 90 day tourist visa is granted on arrival, however, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.
The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP, 0.23 EUR and 0.31 USD.
Kendall Pickering - 2019
Isolde Kleber - 2018
Michelle Magee - 2018
Erika McKay - 2018
Fanny Lansaque - 2018
Mark Wright - 2017
Xavier Julia Torne - 2017
Charlotte Chaloner - 2017
Sharon Evans - 2017
Chris Carr - 2017
Sue Morley - 2017
Mikaela Stanborough - 2017
Inge Vermeulen - 2017