Visit The Orangutans In Borneo

Despite being one of the most instantly-recognisable and endearing animals on the planet, orangutans are in fact critically endangered. There are now only around 60,000 orangutans remaining in the wild, and these great apes need our help now more than ever.

The idea of working with orangutans is something many of us dream of, and by becoming an orangutan volunteer in Borneo, you will be making a real difference to this incredible species while also marking an extraordinary experience off your bucket list. The Great Projects are proud to offer the opportunity for you to visit the orangutans in Borneo on any one of our many orangutan projects: spend time at the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Sanctuary to volunteer with our arboreal cousins; pay a visit to the world-famous IAR Sanctuary in Indonesian Borneo; or make a difference when visiting orangutans on the award-winning Great Orangutan Project.

Volunteering with orangutans will be a worthwhile and memorable experience for any conservationist - to make a difference to our closest relative in the natural world, visit Borneo and take part in an orangutan experience with The Great Projects.

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Orangutans At A Glance

Critically Endangered
Around 60,000
Borneo And Sumatra

How Endangered Are Orangutans

Orangutans are known as a symbol of conservation efforts, but this is not without good cause: both the Bornean and Sumatran species of animal are critically endangered, according to the IUCN's Red List, and we must work fast to protect them.

Around a century ago, orangutan numbers were estimated to be around 230,000 - that number has since dropped significantly and shows little sign of slowing down. There are few animals that have experienced such a steep decline (in the last 100 years, orangutan populations have been slashed by around 75%), yet there is much that could be done to prevent such a horrific trend.

The numbers for today's current orangutan populations are, simply put, quite shocking: it is estimated that there could be as few as 54,000 Borean orangutans left in the wild, and a tragically small amount of Sumatran orangutans left, with their numbers standing at only around 6,000. By taking part in an orangutan volunteer experience in Borneo, you will be contributing to a more sustainable future for these incredible apes.

Threats Orangutans Are Facing

Unfortunately, orangutans face a number of threats every day of their lives. Some of these threats include the following:

  • Habitat loss - in 2015, devastating forest fires ravaged the rainforests of Borneo. Instances like this are born out of a lack of rain in the area, causing the land to be dry (and therefore extremely flammable) and, other times, through the 'slash and burn' approach to farming in Indonesia. The rainforests are also destroyed as part of the palm oil trade, and since the 70's, more than 30% of Borneo's rainforests have been lost.
  • Poaching - while the idea of orangutans being used for meat seems foreign to most, it is a tragic reality. Particularly in the case of adult orangutans. They are killed for bushmeat or even for body parts (such as skulls or hands) to be sold as souvenirs.
  • The Illegal Pet Trade - thousands of young orangutans have suffered the impact of the illegal pet trade - not only are they often kept in cruel or unclean environments but by being stolen away from their mother's sides, they will lose the ability to learn fundamental life skills they need to aid their survival.
Fast Facts
  • The world 'orangutan' is derived from Malay, and means 'person of the forest' ('orang' being 'person', and 'hutan' meaning 'forest.)
  • Adult orangutans are huge, weighing up to 100kg and measuring up to 1.5m tall.
  • They also have seriously impressive arm spans, with some males stretching out to 2m from fingertip to fingertip!
  • The orangutan is one of humankind's closest relatives - in fact, we share nearly 97% of our DNA with these amazing as such, shouldn't we be doing more to care for our distant rainforest cousins?
  • Orangutans, unlike many other primates, are solitary animals. It is said this is because they consume a huge amount of food each day, and living in troops would make food difficult to share. 
Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987