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 below), where Alan Knight OBE and his colleagues explain the inspiring work carried out by the staff and volunteers of this centre.
Helpful Project Information
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.
New Construction at the Centre
Volunteers work at IAR’s temporary wildlife conservation and rescue centre in Ketapang, on the construction of the much-needed, new orangutan sanctuary.
With the centre expanding, volunteers may partake in helping to erect electric fences and mix concrete to make bases for new cages to stand on. Also the building of boardwalks and bridges to make access easier for personnel and new climbing towers and feeding platforms for the orangutans in the forest school areas
Due to the damp tropical nature of the area and the boisterousness of the orangutans, boardwalks and towers often need general upkeep and repair. The insides of buildings need repainting and cages regularly need their structural enrichment changed.
Volunteers may also be involved in the process of producing enrichment for the resident orangutans. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance the potential for rehabilitation to release as well as improve the lives of the orangutans. Please note that there will be NO direct contact with orangutans during this or any other activity.
Farming and planting
To help keep the food bills down we are growing our own local produce to help feed the orangutans. This involves activities from planting fruit trees and harvesting vegetables to making organic compost. As more land is being bought some areas of it need reforesting.
All the cages at the centre need regular maintenance, especially in terms of changing the fixed enrichment of hammocks, ropes and tyres. The orangutans in the large socialisation cages can be particularly destructive and enjoy taking things apart. All new cages always need to be fitted with various items along with hammocks in all the night cages. The volunteers often make the new hammocks and swings and refit all the various cages.
On your day off each week you will get to explore other areas of Ketapang. Hutan Kota is a natural park where you may get the chance to see wild proboscis and macaque monkeys as they make their way to the rivers edge to settle for the night. There are also local beaches where you can watch the sunset while drinking from a coconut. The town of Ketapang also has markets, a Buddhist temple and numerous local shops. You will also get the opportunity to visit the old Transit site, though no longer in use by IAR you can see what the centre has evolved from.