Projects

The Great Orangutan Project

From £795.00

Volunteer at an award-winning Orangutan Volunteer Centre in beautiful Borneo

Borneo,

Orangutans

Project Description

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.

Why This Project Needs Volunteers

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.

Itinerary

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After arriving into Kuching Airport, Sarawak, you will be met by a member of the project team and transferred to the Basaga Guesthouse in Kuching. You will enjoy a welcome dinner in the evening, followed by an orientation with the project facilitator and your fellow volunteers.
Day 2 - Transfer To The Project:
After breakfast, your group will take a private transfer to Matang Wildlife Centre. After settling in, you will meet the rest of the project staff and take a full tour of the centre, where you will catch your first glimpse of the animals – including the orangutans!
Day 3-13 - Project Days:
This is where the project truly begins, and you will spend the next eleven days taking part in a range of activities from enrichment and husbandry to construction and maintenance. Two consecutive days each week are also free for you to relax or explore the local area and see more of what Borneo has to offer.
Day 14 - Fond Farewells:
This will be your final day on the project, and after taking part in one final activity at the centre, you will be transferred back to the Basaga Guesthouse. Here you can enjoy a swim in the pool and a warm shower before joining your group for a farewell dinner.
Day 15 - Final Day:
After saying goodbye to your fellow volunteers and the project team, you will be driven to the airport in time for your return flight home, or to continue with your independent travel plans. Wherever you are headed next, you can be sure to leave Borneo with a lifetime of unforgettable memories!

What will I be doing?

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?

Enrichment

Enrichment

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

Husbandry

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

Construction

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.

Organic Farming

Organic Farming

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.

Maintenance

Maintenance

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!

Free Time & Additional Activities

Free Time & Additional Activities

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>

Visit Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

Visit Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

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.

Additional Information

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)
Getting There

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.

Visa Requirements

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.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate is around 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP, 0.23 EUR and 0.31 USD.

What's included in the price of the project?
  • A Donation
  • Airport Transfers
  • Full orientation and support from the project facilitators
  • Accommodation and meals
  • All project activities
What's not included?
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa if required
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Towels at the Wildlife Center

Reviews

Kendall Pickering - 2019

I have so many memories, but one of my favourites was when two of the younger orangutans were playing with the water from the hose as I was cleaning their night dens. They were having so much fun splashing and playing, just like little children! The orangutans will always have a special place in my heart but the sun bears, gibbons, birds and macaques were so incredible to be around too, each animal having their own quirks and personalities. The staff were amazing and so dedicated to the animals. It is sad that centres like this need to be around, but I'm also thankful that there are so many people who work incredibly hard to make the lives of these precious animals as good as they can with the resources they have access to. I would recommend this trip to everyone.

Isolde Kleber - 2018

I had many incredible moments, watching these animals every day, slowly getting to know their characters. I learned a lot. I would also like to express the utmost respect to the people who dedicate their lives to these wonderful animals. I have felt a lot at home and am considering coming back.

Michelle Magee - 2018

The whole experience was fantastic. Richard and Dom were both brilliant. They were kind, patient, fun and informative. Our safely and the welfare of the animals was their number one priority. I loved living nearby and listening to all the animals waking up from my bed. The other volunteers were all lovely too. I will never forget the time I spent at Matang and hope to go back one day.

Erika McKay - 2018

It was such a great experience seeing the orangutans so close and getting a full appreciation of the amazing animals. I loved seeing first hand how much the staff and volunteers cared about all of the animals. We also went on a night walk with one of the staff, he had a great sense of humour and was amazing at finding wildlife!

Fanny Lansaque - 2018

I enjoyed every single moment of my stay. I miss the jungle, the animals, and the feeling of doing something good to protect these endangered species. The staff were very professional and always available for us - they really do a great job there. They really contributed to making our stay a special and unforgettable experience. I can't wait to go back there!

Mark Wright - 2017

From waking up to the noises of the jungle, to the waterfall walks around the jungle, or even the trips to Bako where you see the wild animals, they're all favourite memories. This experience teaches you about the importance of responsible tourism and how bad some organisations are to these beautiful animals.

Xavier Julia Torne - 2017

There was nothing quite like seeing the sunbears, macaques or orangutans cheer for joy when tossing wrapped leaves and nuts into their enclosures.

Charlotte Chaloner - 2017

The orangutans were amazing. There was a real community feel to the trip as everyone got along so well!

Sharon Evans - 2017

I will never forget when a 3-year-old female Orangutan waved her arm and hand at me when I said goodbye for the last time. A highlight was being present at the release of a SlowLoris into the surrounding jungle.

Chris Carr - 2017

I had a fantastic time met lots of amazing people and all the beautiful misused & maltreated animals now have a place to be at peace.

Sue Morley - 2017

The whole experience was simply amazing and the staff made me feel like part of their family. If you love animals like I do, then this is nature at its best!

Mikaela Stanborough - 2017

Met great people, made lots of friends, interacted with a wide variety of animals including orangutans, sun bears, macaques, binturong, turtles etc. Had some unforgettable moments in Kuching ;)

Inge Vermeulen - 2017

My whole volunteering trip was amazing! I just loved every minute of it. The project team was inspiring and my fellow volunteers were great fun. The animals were adorable, and it was incredible to watch them from a distance. It was interesting to join in all the activities, from feeding through to scrubbing the cages, and although it was sweaty and sometimes dirty work, it was rewarding at the same time. There were two truly amazing moments on the trip. One was on the last day when we were watching the feeding of the orangs. One of them really posed for us as a model, draping leaves around her head, showing her belly. The second moment I will never forget was after Michelle (fellow volunteer) and I made a bear swing. The minute we put it in the cage of the baby bears it was a big success! They were playing like crazy and lots of fun to watch.