Wildlife conservation in Borneo

“Contribute to extraordinary wildlife conservation in Sabah rainforest of Malaysian Borneo, along the Kinabatangan River. See orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and more. Stay in community accommodation.”

Highlights

Wildlife conservation project | Sabah wildlife |Sandakan | Orang Sungai community | Kinabatangan river | Tree planting and habitat restoration | Orangutans | Pygmy elephants | Proboscis monkeys | macaques

Travel Team

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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.
Diet:
We cater for both vegetarians and vegans.
Vouchers
Accepted

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.

Environment
Conserving Borneo
This project is all about conserving the dwindling natural environment in Borneo - and hopefully enabling it to regenerate and survive for many more generations to come. Orangutan populations are plummeting, mainly thanks to palm oil plantations and deforestation. On this project, volunteers help to plant new rainforest and maintain it, ensuring that animals have safe places to live and thrive.

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.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Meeting local needs
This project engages directly with the local community. Meals are provided by local families, boat and bus drivers do all transfers and the guest houses are rented from local families. In addition to this there is an active local education and immersion scheme which allows families to get to know their friendly hosts. Volunteer spending is spread around the local community by engaging a large range of local individuals and businesses. Saplings are bought from locals who grow them to help regenerate the rainforest.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Borneo. Volunteers are briefed on the local cultures and customs. Our policy is to send people in small groups, which minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

Climate

6 Reviews of Wildlife conservation in Borneo

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 04 Mar 2020 by

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


Working with all the dedicated, passionate team members and volunteers -- and seeing orangutans in the wild!

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


Bring your own rubber boots and quick-drying towel. Get plenty of snacks at the grocery store on the first day. Go to Gomantong Cave on your afternoon off.

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


Absolutely!

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


Incredibly meaningful and unforgettable.

Reviewed on 05 Jan 2020 by

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


Every afternoon wildlife monitoring on the river or in the forest. Many new animals I never see before. A lot of learning on the regional environment.

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


Do not be afraid. You will meet friendly and professional people with a great knowledge to share.

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


Yes I feel the project contributes a lot on conservation. The benefits for local people and their environment are there to be seen.

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


A great human and environmental experience.

Reviewed on 05 Nov 2019 by

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


The whole thing. Seeing the difference in a site after a mornings work was
really rewarding. Of course seeing so much wildlife was also of course a highlight

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


Expect to work hard for part of most days. But itís a very manageable amount. Itís hot and sweaty work but totally rewarding.

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


Absolutely. The local operators presence on the ground was evident as they were
well known in the community and the clear results from their years of reforestation work was obvious.

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


Amazing. I have nothing negative to say.

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2019 by

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


Meeting new people especially the locals in the river village.

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


Make sure you check the times of the fruiting trees as we did not see
any orangutans as they had depleted their food source the month before and had moved on.

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


As some local families were paid to provide some meals for us and as they
were obviously poor families it did benefit local families. Our tree
planting to provide a primate corridor will definitely help the orangutans.

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


I had a great time, met some lovely people and would certainly recommend this vacation to others.

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2018 by

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


Working in a tropical downpour and seeing a mother and baby Orangutang climbing a tree near the work site.

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


Don't really need to bring wellies. Bring a good pair of binoculars and don't forget the Jungle Formula bug repellent.

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


Yes. Contact with local people, particularly the afternoon spent with students in the school talking about conservation issues. Hopefully the 140 trees we planted will benefit the wildlife in about 20 years time.

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


An interesting and insightful look at conservation in Sabah, Borneo. A bit short though - two full weeks would be better.

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2017 by

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


Seeing a large wild male Orangutan eating figs in a tree by the Kinabatangan River - we were so close to him and he looked so relaxed! What a beautiful special creature.

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


Get fit before going! The machete for me was hard to master and the heat and humidity make physical work more demanding. Thinking about future generations of orangutans swinging and feeding from the trees that we would be planting was my inspiration to carry on when I felt that I was beyond exhaustion!! Take a travel plug so you can wash your clothes as you will get very dirty! Also good binoculars are essential to participate fully in the wildlife monitoring - its so much fun and when you can identify species for yourself (especially if you can find them before eagle eyed Mark!) it's really rewarding.

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


Definitely yes. The community day and eating with locals, as well as the boats being captained by locals, made sure that they knew what we were doing and why. It provides jobs for local people. Seeing trees planted 4 years ago now being visited by elephants, as evidence by their dung and rub marks on the trees indicates that this planting is working and that is very inspiring for me.

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


A fabulous experience. APE Malaysia who run this project are an organisation that I can highly recommend. Mark Louis Benedict who led the project that I was on is a hugely knowledgeable and passionate person, for whom no question raised was too much trouble to answer. He went to considerable effort to make sure we saw as much wildlife as possible and explained in detail to us the challenges that Borneo faces to preserve is remnant rainforests. If you care about this precious environment and the creatures that make it their home please do this vacation!

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