Explore Borneo's lush rainforest in search of wild orangutan and the rare pygmy elephant
Based in the mystical Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain Rainforest in Sabah, this orangutan project completely encompasses the awe-inspiring diversity and dynamism of Borneo's wildlife. The area in which you will be volunteering is situated within WWF's protected 'Corridor of Life', a region of enormous importance in balancing land-development and the needs of its indigenous communities and wildlife. This project allows complete immersion into the natural wonder of the unique habitat, aiming to work on the reforestation of the environment, to help orangutans and pygmy elephants in Borneo to thrive.
As a volunteer you will stay in the small village of Sukau for the duration of the project, a rural, indigenous community with a population of approximately just 1,000. The charming, hospitable 'Orang Sungai' ('People of the River'), are always keen to share their way of life and welcome guests into their community. In return, you will assist with educating the local population on the importance of conservation and implementing more sustainable ways of living.
The main part of the programme will be centred on activities in and around Sukau village or along the Kinabatangan River, but you will also spend time working with the project staff, assisting with wildlife monitoring through river-cruises and rainforest-treks. As well as orangutans and pygmy elephants, the orangutan wildlife sanctuary in which the project is based is also home to gibbons and hornbills - making it a wildlife-spotting haven.
Volunteers on this project are needed to help the conservation of the local wildlife, specifically the Orangutans and Pygmy Elephants, and this is done through wildlife monitoring, reforestation and spending time with the local Orang Sungai people helping to educate them about how conservation and economic growth can go hand in hand.
You’ll be helping plant trees, getting involved with teaching the local school children and observing the endangered wildlife along the river banks. Your time will be spread across many different areas during your stay!
On this project you will work with both the local community and the local wildlife.
During the project you will learn about orangutans within the rehabilitation stage, also coming to understand the process of releasing them back into the wild. Through this, you will recognise and compare these situations with that of captive animals, and those with threatened habitats.
The principal focus of the project is to work towards the conservation of the orangutans and pygmy elephants in Borneo. This is achieved mainly through monitoring their numbers and patterns, as well as those of other animals in the habitat. A perfect opportunity for some great photos!
In order to see as much wildlife as possible, some of the monitoring/data collection will be conducted from a boat whilst cruising along the main river and its tributaries to observe the endangered wildlife roaming the forest along the river banks.
Another important method of preserving the local environment is through reforestation. Part of your time will, therefore, be spent planting new trees and tending to the pygmy elephant and orangutan habitat so as to help their numbers slowly increase. Doing so is a vital part of the crusade to ensure the survival of these unique and magnificent animals.
As a volunteer, you will also work with this welcoming and friendly community, living along the river bank. Educating the community and providing them with economic motivation for conservation is one of the best ways of protecting local wildlife and all volunteers will contribute to this education effort. There is also an opportunity to work with local school children, educating them about the importance of conservation for their home environment and way of life.
You will be taken on numerous treks so as to spot an extensive range of flora and fauna inland, as well as learn about the mysterious rainforests of Sabah. Intrepid travelers rejoice: these are truly memorable experiences which you will remember for a lifetime!
|Group Size||Up to 8 People|
|Meals||All Meals Included|
|Start Dates||21st of every month|
|Minimum Age||Minimum Age 18|
The nearest airport to the Sabah region is Sandakan International (SDK) and you must arrive between 7am - 5pm on the project start date where you will be met and transferred (included in the price of the project) to the temporary accommodation which will take roughly 1.5 to 2 hours.
If you would like help booking your flights please feel free to contact our flight partners via our flights page.
There is no prior 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 approximately 1 MYR to 0.19 GBP, 0.23 EUR and 0.31 USD
Emma Danielle Foster - 2017
Kathryn Ely - 2017
Maria - 2015
Tessa Milne-Day - 2014