Orangutans Rehab & Release | Borneo
The sanctuary where you’ll assist is a recognised ex-situ conservation facility and referral centre for the endangered Bornean Orang-Utan.
During your programme you'll focus purely on Orang-Utan conservation and research. You’ll get stuck into enrichment, husbandry, organic planting, as well as construction and maintenance of the sanctuary, to help provide the Orang-Utans with a healthy and happy future.
Orangutans roam freely in the sanctuary – but humans do not. The sanctuary does vital work with the public in order to increase their awareness and engagement in Orangutan Conservation. The sanctuary has a fantastic foundation of knowledge which it has built on, having worked with numerous universities over the years.
WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
The project site is located on a 35-acre island nestled within a 7000-acre freshwater lakeside. The Sanctuary started with only 3 rescued Orang-Utans, and is now currently home to 24 Orang-Utans.
They don’t often bring in new Orang- Utans to the sanctuary, only if the authorities rescue any Orang-Utans kept illegally in Peninsular Malaysia or if there is a need from the Sarawak Forestry Department.
The Orang-Utans are also not often released. The babies stay with their mothers for the first 4-5 years and then they need a few more years to learn how to find food for themselves. The sanctuary only releases an Orang-Utan when it's ready to survive in the wild. Volunteers are not really involved with releases, but you may witness the transfer or receipt of an Orang-Utan.
YOUR WORK CONTENT:
You'll be treated as a temporary staff member when with us and you should be prepared to participate in any and all jobs that are required for the Sanctuary’s maintenance and development. You may also get to witness events that are only the privilege of full-time members of staff. No special skills or experience is required and the majority of our volunteers don't have prior skills. However, if you do have any skills in the following, you'll be even more warmly welcomed and appreciated! Veterinary physician / builders / carpenters / welders / mechanics, etc.
Some of the work is physically demanding and takes place outdoors. The example shown below may differ slightly at different times and work is assigned depending on what's needed at the time you're there:
ENRICHMENT OF THE FACILITIES FOR THE ORANG-UTANS:
You'll be involved in the process of producing enrichment materials for the Orang-Utans. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance their wellbeing. Doing these enrichment exercises also provides you with the opportunity to observe them from a safe distance and learning how they adapt and use the materials - a vry rewarding exercise!
FEEDING AND CLEANING:
This will include preparing the food for the Orang-Utans, taking care to ensure that those on a special diet receive the type of food that has been specified for them. Both feeding and cleaning are done to specific schedules.
Husbandry simply means cleaning, feeding and caring for captive animals. Everyday you will have to follow all of the rules and schedules for feeding and cleaning, and also give valuable assistance in farming and planting in order to ensure the Orang-Utans have the quality foods they need. You'll also help to care for the Orang-Utan exhibition area.
Helping to build and erect climbing structures for the Orang-Utans. These are very necessary for them to build up their skills.
Helping to building boardwalks for easier tourist and keeper access around the centre.
The rainforest is a harsh environment for the longevity of any man-made structures. Therefore, anything that we build needs regular maintenance to ensure that it doesn't rust/rot/get eaten by termites within a couple of years. This work usually involves a lot of cleaning, painting and repairing.
These are the main tasks, construction and maintenance however, only occur when there is a need. The Sanctuary is maintained as natural as possible, therefore all man-made objects will be kept to minimal.
You won't get to hold or touch the Orang-Utans, because the ultimate objective of the project is to train Orang-Utans to home their survival skills and hopefully they will be released to the wild one day. Food is prepared for them, but not spoon-fed to them. Orang-utans in the sanctuary have to learn where to look for food.
You’ll be staying in the bustling town of Taiping, Perak which is one of the oldest towns in Malaysia. A short drive from the project, it’s conveniently located for you to experience the sights and sounds of Malaysian day to day life.
Your accomodation is at the volunteer centre, which is a really social spot as you’ll share it with volunteers on the internship project! It has a great communal space, where you can eat, relax and socialise in the evenings! A good way to end a busy working day at the sanctuary.
You’ll share a room with other volunteers, which a great opportunity to really get to know each other and make new friends from different countries. Each room has a fan to help keep you cool and there are Western bathroom and toilets and hot water for you to take advantage of!
Food is provided on this project. You'll get three meals and food is mainly Malaysian style and vegetarian. All meals will be prepared for you from Monday until Sunday, except lunch & dinner on weekends. Most dietary requirements can be catered for.
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