Volunteers on this orangutan volunteer project will take an unforgettable jungle tour through the lush Borneo rainforests to experience the beauty of orangutans in the wild. The programme also features two visits to the region’s orangutan centres – the Matang Wildlife Centre and the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, as well as three breathtaking national parks – Bako, Kubah and Batang Ai. Both Bornean orangutan sanctuaries and all three national parks are managed by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, who play an active role in the ongoing conservation of the area’s orangutans.
This ‘voluntour’ is designed to raise awareness of the conservation efforts made in Sarawak, to restore the harmony between people and orangutans that has become strained in recent years. The orangutan project is a voyage of discovery for the volunteers who take part, giving them access to the rehabilitation efforts at Matang Wildlife Centre, the released, semi-wild orangutans of Semenggoh Nature Reserve, the seven different habitats of Borneo in the amazing Bako National Park and a one week trip into the lush rainforest. This rainforest trip will involve meeting the descendants of the legendary Borneo head-hunters – the Iban tribe – who are now the custodians of the wild orangutans of Batang Ai. This will be an experience you certainly won’t forget in a hurry!
Helpful Project Information
The aim of this project is to allow volunteers to experience first-hand, the positive conservation efforts being made in the Sarawak region, by uncovering some of the existing problems and exploring the solutions to sustaining orangutan populations in Malaysian Borneo. Orangutan volunteers should partake with an open mind, appreciating the opportunity to discover new lifestyles and cultures, and with the aim of absorbing as much information as possible about the orangutan conservation efforts.
A major part of the work at Matang Wildlife centre is creating enrichment. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance the potential for rehabilitation to release as well as improve the lives of the animals at the centre.
During this voluntour there are numerous jungle treks with the chances of seeing wild proboscis monkeys and wild orangutans. There are also some night walks in Bako National Park and Batang Ai for the more adventurous amongst you!
Meet the Iban Tribe
When in Batang Ai there are a lot of different activities to get involved in including learning traditional handicrafts, cooking, fishing, picnics amidst breath-taking scenery, swimming in jungle rivers and waterfalls and interacting with the tribespeople. Interacting and building bonds with the indigenous people is essential in repairing the fractured human – orangutan relations in this region. The attitude of the orangutan volunteers towards the host community is paramount to the success of this project.
Over the past few years volunteers have helped create an organic farm to grow food for the animals at the centre to enable it to become a more sustainable institution.
We are determined for our farm to remain organic. Though many people keep recommending a whole host of chemicals for keeping the weeds at bay, we shall continue to rely on the brute force of the volunteers to keep it under control.
It is definitely a realisable dream to have orangutan centres organically growing all the food they need to keep their animals alive and healthy. Tending to the farm has, therefore, become a regular job for our volunteers