Work at International Animal Rescue's orangutan sanctuary on the rehabilitation of these great apes
International Animal Rescue was created with one sole purpose: to come to the aid of suffering animals around the world. This involves the rescue of animals in danger and, wherever possible, the return of rescued animals to their natural environment and the provision of permanent sanctuary for animals that can no longer survive in the wild. In 2010, IAR finalized plans to construct an orangutan rehabilitation sanctuary in Ketapang, Indonesia. The staff at this centre strive to house, rehabilitate and release orphaned or injured orangutans back into the wild. In August 2011, construction began on Phase 1, thanks to a £400,000 investment and the help of many volunteers. Phase 1 was completed in early 2013, and Phase 2, which will include many more orangutan enclosures, is currently in progress.
This orangutan project is certainly one of the most ambitious and costly but is also one of the most vital orangutan rehabilitation projects in Indonesia. Although challenging and work-intensive, the completion of the centre will make an immeasurable difference to the conservation of Borneo's orangutans.
This truly is an incredibly rewarding orangutan project to be involved in, and all volunteers will leave feeling that they have actively contributed to the ongoing work of a remarkable conservation project. Please take some time to watch the video on this page (see the videos tab below), where Alan Knight OBE and his colleagues explain the inspiring work carried out by the staff and volunteers of this centre.
"I am delighted that we will be working closely with the team at The Great Projects and look forward to the Great Projects' volunteers helping us build a future for orangutans in Ketapang, West Kalimantan through their award winning volunteer programme." Alan Knight OBE - CEO International Animal Rescue
This orangutan volunteer programme is designed to support International Animal Rescue, by helping with the build of a fully functional orangutan rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary in the middle of Indonesia's lush jungle.
Please note itineraries are subject to change and what follows is only a rough guideline.
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
IAR is currently using a temporary centre in Ketapang, West Kalimantan to care for rescued orangutans while they work to establish a permanent orangutan rescue and rehabilitation facility. Volunteers taking part in this orangutan project are vital in moving forward the construction of this orangutan sanctuary. Their hard work and positive attitude drives the work towards completion.
Phase one of the new centre is now complete with all the buildings operational, but the centre is growing. With the purchase of adjacent land to be used as pre-release islands and the ever increasing numbers of rescued orangutans, volunteers taking part in this project are vital in expanding and improving the centre and continually moving it forward as a centre in which abandoned and injured orangutans can find a home, temporary or otherwise.
Alan Knight OBE, the CEO of IAR is very excited to be working with volunteers who take part in this endeavor through The Great Projects, and told us "I am delighted that we will be working closely with the team at The Great Projects and look forward to the IAR Orangutan Project volunteers helping us build a future for orangutans in Ketapang, West Kalimantan through their award-winning orangutan volunteer programme."
On arrival volunteers will stay firstly in a hotel in Kuching, then another hotel in Pontianak, before being transferred to the project accommodation, which consists of locally-rented houses near the centre site. These will be shared with other volunteers, and provide toilets, showers and bed linen, as well as communal areas. There are also cooking facilities in the volunteer houses where meals can be prepared. Please note that whilst this accommodation is far from luxurious, it is completely practical.
Three meals per day will provided for you during your time here. Breakfast will consist of cereal, fruit and tea and coffee, where as lunch and dinner will be more prepared meals. Please note that if volunteers have a day off at the weekend then they will need to pay for a meal in a nearby restaurant. Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks are not included, so you will need to make sure that you have enough spending money for these and other snacks.
This project requires a fairly high level of fitness, as the majority of the volunteering work involves physical labour in fairly high and humid temperatures. All volunteers will also need a positive mental attitude, commitment to the cause and its aims and ability to work well as part of a team.
Vaccinations required will depend entirely on the medical history of each volunteer. Therefore it is essential that you consult your GP regarding this issue prior to departure. We also thoroughly recommend that you check Fit For Travel’s website in conjunction with visiting your GP.
We are often asked whether or not volunteers will have the chance to touch or play with the orangutans whilst on this project. Our answer to this question is, and will always be no, and this is for good reason.
Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases and something as minor as the common cold can prove fatal to these Great Apes. Also an environment of constant change, with new volunteers going to the project every two or four weeks and being in contact with the orangutans would be very detrimental to the Orangutans wellbeing. With no consistency in their lives behavioural problems arise. They also have a tendency to begin to trust humans which is damaging should they be released back into the wild, as they will become easy targets for poachers. Finally, an orangutan is around 7 times stronger than an adult male human so a no contact policy is just as crucial for volunteer wellbeing as orangutan welfare.
That is not to say that as a volunteer you will have no interaction with the orangutans, it simply means that you will have no direct contact with them. You will still observe them on a daily basis and see how your contribution to their husbandry and enrichment makes a real difference in these great apes’ lives. For more information please view our article on hands on contact with orangutans here
Volunteers should arrive at Kuching airport on the project start day between 7am - 5pm, where they will be met by a project representative and taken to each of the sites and accommodations in turn.
If you would like help booking your flights please feel free to contact our flight partners via our flights page.
Volunteers joining this project will need to apply for a Social/Cultural visa for Indonesia before travel. You will need to send your completed application form, along with all relevant documentation, to your nearest Indonesian Embassy and you will receive a visa for 90 days which will be valid from the date of issue.
We will provide volunteers with an invitation letter from our charity partners, International Animal Rescue, which they will need to attach to their visa application.
For help with your visa application please click here.
The currency in Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. 1 IDR is approximately 0.00006 GBP, 0.00009 USD and 0.00007 EUR
International Animal Rescue is an animal welfare non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom that comes to the aid of wild and domestic animals with hands-on rescue, rehabilitation and release.
19th of August is International Orangutan Day and you can make a difference. With an additional donation and your help on the project, the Orangutans lives can be changed forever.
Stefanie Soumilas, 2015
Maxine Lister, 2014
Renae Dickinson, 2013
Kristi Smith, 2013
Erin Brass, 2013
Ann Rankin, 2013