Volunteer Review Of The Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary!

Volunteer Review Of The Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary!

Posted by Connor Whelan on 6th Jan 2017

We love hearing about the experiences our volunteers had on our projects, and today we have been lucky enough to receive an update from one of last year’s Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary volunteers! Angela headed over to Borneo back in May last year and she loved her time there, so without further ado let’s see what she had to say!

'I retired and wanted to do something special to mark my retirement. I have always loved orangutans and I decided I wanted to go and see them. I came across The Great Projects online and I decided to go alone and do a month’s volunteering with these amazing men of the forest.

Borneo Orangutan

The volunteer co-ordinator Kate did a great job alongside the keepers who are all local people. I learnt so many things including more about all of the work that goes into protecting this endangered species, and just how incredibly hard everyone works here!

Orangutan Food Prep

We had full days of work over the month which included cutting down bamboo and preparing it to help provide enrichment for the orangutans. We also cleaned out the enclosures of the orangutans that are kept in quarantine with infections, or those who are awaiting test results, as they have 97% of our DNA and as a result they can catch many infections. This is why we had to be very careful and wear masks when we were cleaning them.

Volunteer Group

As well as working hard we had lots of fun too. Cola Cola was an endearing young orangutan, until he started to eat his fruit anyway! As we watched on lovingly, he then turned and spat it in your face just as a human baby does. I think he managed to get me every time. They are all such characters but I did fall in love with Harriet as she was so funny and really mischievous. Little Wowo the orangutan even got used to my voice and squeaked when I gave him his fruit, my heart really is still at Samboja.

Orangutan Island

I would recommend this trip to Samboja Lestari to anyone who is interested in doing something totally different. There was a mixture of ages within our group, but we had so many laughs, and debates about life that it was great fun. We swapped life stories that used to last into the evening as you could not go to bed until we knew the ending!

I would go back to Samboja in a heartbeat, I know that I had a life changing experience, and would go to hell and back, as some of these amazing orangutans do to survive. Thank you The Great Projects for letting us experience this incredible adventure, these orangutans are in my soul.'

If Angela’s story has inspired you to begin your travels, you can check out all that Samboja has to offer on the project page.


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