The latest in our series of volunteer reviews takes us over to Indonesia and more specifically to the IAR Orangutan Project! Lauren headed out to help the orangutans back in July of this year, and we asked her some questions about her time on the project to try and give you all a better idea of what the project is like through a volunteers eyes. It’s time to let Lauren take it away!
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
There are many highlights to choose from, but the people I met at International Animal Rescue, seeing first-hand the amazing work they are carrying out 24/7 for rescued orangutans, was incredible. With their help I learnt so much about animal conservation and gained a deep understanding of what’s needed to protect these vulnerable animals.
We were also extremely lucky to be able to watch the youngest orangutans learn the ropes (literally!) in baby school, watching them climb and swing from trees like they would in the wild. This was such a special moment!
Would you like to venture back to the project or even take on some new volunteering trips?
I would love to venture back to the project in the future. I would love to see how the centre has grown, and it would be great to hear that the orangutans that were there have now been successfully returned the wild. Going on this trip has opened my eyes to volunteering and I’m already thinking about my next one!
Did you have a favourite orangutan?
It would be hard to have a favourite orangutan, as when you meet them you see that they all have their own cheeky personalities and ways of expressing their emotions. It was important that we didn't come in to any physical contact with the orangutans or get too close to them; however just being around them was very special.
Do you have any expert tips for new travellers?
I think you need to have an open mind as you'll be immersed in a completely different environment. Physical work in Indonesia's humidity can be challenging, and getting your hands dirty is good, but there’s no better feeling than knowing how important your contribution is and when you see the finished product you'll feel very proud that you could be a part of such an amazing team.
Did the trip inspire you to help with animal conservation in any other way?
I have returned home very inspired to help with animal conservation, and I truly believe there has never been a more important time than now to get involved. I learnt so much whilst on my travels, and I am determined to learn even more about these issues all over the world and raise awareness in any way I can.
Why do you think others need to experience travel?
I can’t express enough how enlightening it is to take a break from your usual surroundings and everyday routine at home. It reminds you that the world is big and beautiful, and there are so many great things to see. I am so happy that I decided to volunteer whilst travelling as I met so many inspiring people who all care about the same issues. Also, you get to experience living in a beautiful place, learning about other cultures and a different way of life. If you are thinking about it, stop thinking and book, you'll have SO much fun and it will be the most amazing trip of your life!
If Lauren has inspired you to take the trip over to Borneo to volunteer at the IAR Sanctuary then now is the time as we currently have 15% off the project in celebration of Orangutan Awareness Week!
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