Borneo orangutan conservation volunteering

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please inquire for details.
Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travelers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Our projects are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that both the local people and the environment benefit as well.

The center is passionate about the well being of the animals in its care. Human contact with the orangutans is limited, ensuring that they do not become dependent on humans.

We are passionate about reducing plastic waste. We can provide volunteers with a reusable water bottle that keeps water cool for up to 24 hours - perfect in the hot climate. We give advice on how to travel with as little single use plastic as possible, as it is very hard to recycle in Borneo. Drinking water is provided so that no plastic bottles of water need to be bought. The project has invested in a plastic shredder to ensure that any unavoidable single use plastic can be shredded and reused.

Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travelers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.

We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.

The Impacts of this Trip

Meeting local needs
Volunteers work alongside the professional animal carers and assist them with their daily tasks. During your time off you can explore the local area, which means that you are spending money and generating good business there. The project employs local staff, and local businesses benefit from volunteers such as supermarkets and internet cafes.

Cultural sensitivity
Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People are encouraged to learn some of the local language and briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing.

Campaigning for change
The project works with the local community to educate about the importance of their work. Orang-utans are a protected species, however many are dying out in deforestation work. It is essential to work with locals to ensure that fewer orang-utans die each year.


1 Reviews of Borneo orangutan conservation volunteering

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 26 Dec 2019 by

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

There were many. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Being surrounded by other volunteers committed to improving
the world condition was inspiring. The work was challenging but it was obvious that the volunteers were necessary and helped to improve the animals daily life.

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

Make sure you are comfortable with what is very similar to a “camping” experience. You will be wet a lot of the time so I recommend men’s bathing shorts for both men and women with a quick drying top or bathing shirt. It is simply too hot to wear rain gear. I took 21 pairs of socks and two weeks worth of underwear and was glad I did. I often changed 2-3 times per day to keep as dry as possible. Laundry takes two days or more to dry so bring enough clothing to compensate for that. You can borrow Wellies there so don’t invest in any unless you have a favourite pair. You won’t be bringing them home. Similarly your work clothes will likely stay behind and be used as enrichment material for the animals.

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

The wildlife sanctuary is seriously over subscribed and the animals are not in a good place. This is through no fault of the forestry men, charity, staff or volunteers but it can be a bit of a shock from what is presented on the operators page. The volunteers are desperately needed and they are put to good use and do contribute to an improvement in the conditions of the animals. Does it support conservation? Not as much as it could. Does it benefit the local people? I imagine that could be worked into the vacation as well.

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

I would go back but this time I would have a more realistic view of what I was walking into. The basic conditions are perfectly fine and definitely not a hardship. In fact the challenges were fun. If you are looking to be involved with active conservation, rehabilitation and returning animals to the wild this is not happening. It did at one point in the history of the sanctuary and may well again but at the moment it is a facility with far too many animals and so many species that the time needed to fulfill their mandate simply no longer exists. Having said that it was an extremely valuable experience and I encourage anyone who is
truly committed to helping animals (and people) and putting their money where their mouth is with respect to making the world a better place to participate in this opportunity.
14 days KO 30/12/19

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