Volunteer at orangutan & wildlife rescue centre in Indonesia

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Volunteer at orangutan & wildlife rescue centre in Indonesia


The Wildlife Centre was started by the Gibbon Foundation in 1995 to act as a rescue centre for Gibbons and Orangutan confiscated from the illegal pet trade. Jogja is actually a major centre for wild animal trafficking and is the main hub out of Borneo to the rest of the world. The centre is now run independently and uses volunteers, corporate events and outward bound programmes to help fund the centre's work.

The centre has 5 orangutans, 20+ gibbons and numerous, birds, eagles, owls and 4 crocodiles. In 2011 the centre rehabilitated and released two Javan Eagles which are highly endangered. Two of the younger orangutans are on the waiting list to be transported to a Orangutan rehabilitation centre on the island of Borneo. The other three are not likely to be returned as the influence of humans is too strong on them. One of the largest male orangutans was once used to clean cars and still if he is given a coconut husk he will use it as a brush to clean his clean.


The centre is surrounded by small villages. The centre has a plan to integrate as much as possible with the local villagers as a way to encourage them to inform about wildlife trafficking in the area. One of the major ways the centre does this is by providing stable employment to the villagers with 31 out of 36 staff being from the local villages.

The volunteer programme is the second way they hope to expand their impact and help the local community. Each week the volunteers host a school club where they teach Environmental English. What we mean by Environmental English is through interactive educational games the children will learn about the environment whilst improving their English. The volunteers also host weekly Environmental English lessons for the staff of the centre to improve their English and environmental awareness. The latest initiative are the Javan Dinnerís where the volunteers share dinner with a local family with the family benefiting through payment for the meal and also being exposed to English.
These are small steps but it is hoped with more volunteers that the English sessions will be expanded and open for all nearby villagers and school visits are expanded to more schools in the Jogja area.

The vision is of community development which is stimulated through wildlife conservation.

1 Reviews of Volunteer at orangutan & wildlife rescue centre in Indonesia

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Defiantly my most memorable part was the interaction with the local people, especially the kidís classes. The animals were great, however itís the people that made it special.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

If you enjoy a beer after a hard day's work, make sure you organize in advance! You can get beer but itís in town and about a 15min drive, so suggest being organized.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I defiantly feel that we made great progress with the local people. We are still in regular contact with each other on email and facebook and google translate does wonders!

The concept behind this project is really well thought out and itís a credit to the organizers.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

As this was my first volunteering experience, I donít really have anything to benchmark it off. My friend who came with me said that it was like the "Hilton" of volunteering. Couldnít say we really roughed it to be honest, the accommodation and food etc was fantastic.

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