Malaysia, Care for Animals in Lok Kawi Park in Borneo

Company : Budget Volunteering
Activities: Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Countries: Borneo / Malaysia
Location : Borneo, Malaysia
Duration: 4 weeks to 4 weeks
Approx Costs: 2000 to 2500 £ Pound (UK)

Up close and personal with Borneo’s native wildlife. Care for animals in a Wildlife Park, home too many of Borneo's native and threatened species.

Learn about animal care across a variety of species. You'll have hands on contact with some of the animals that have been hand reared. Working hours are generally between 8.00am - 12.00am and 2.00pm - 5.00pm. You will assist on a rotation system within the areas listed below:

  • Elephants (10 days)
  • Orang-Utans and Monkeys, & Reptiles (5 Days)
  • Birds & Hoofstock (5 Days)


All the Elephants are Pygmy Elephants and there are currently 5 female elephants, 1 male and 2 babies. Pygmy Elephants are native to Borneo, but their population and habitat is dwindling due to human intervention. Borneo's Pygmy Elephants are typically half a metre smaller in height than Asian Elephants and yet have longer trunks and tails. They also tend to be much less aggressive than Asian Elephants.

The baby elephants at Lok Kawi were rescued when their mothers were killed by poachers. They have been in contact with humans since a very young age as they had to be bottle fed. Visitors and children can interact with the baby elephants at the Children's zoo. You may assist the elephant keepers with the following tasks:

  • Cleaning enclosures thoroughly
  • Preparing food/milk
  • Bottle feeding and washing the baby elephants
  • Reporting to the veterinarian on behaviour/eating patterns
  • Taking the baby elephants to the Children's Zoo and assisting with visitor interaction/safety. This includes some rides for the children but only during weekends, public holidays and school holidays.
  • Inspecting animals for different behaviour or signs of illness and report to the veterinarian/other staff where necessary.


You'll look after the primate species, including Orang-Utans, Proboscis Monkeys and Gibbons, as well as other small mammals. Both Orang-Utans and Proboscis Monkeys face the threat of extinction due to loss of habitat and human intervention. 

Orang-Utans are incredibly gentle, inquisitive and endearing creatures. They are native to Borneo and Sumatra and found high up in the forest canopy. Orang-Utans are solitary animals and difficult to spot in the wild. At Lok Kawi there are 8 young Orang-Utans, living in a large unfenced enclosure with plenty of enrichment activities - bridges, hammocks, ropes and tyres to climb and swing on. Visitors are not allowed interaction with the Orang-Utans but as a volunteer you will be involved in some of the behind the scenes duties, which includes a direct hands on approach with the animals where possible. 

Proboscis Monkeys are very unusual, with round protruding bellies and huge, pink, pendulous noses - in males the longer the nose the better for attracting a female mate! They live in groups high up in the trees and usually close to a water source. In Sabah they are mainly found along the banks of the Kinabatangan river. At Lok Kawi there is a group of Proboscis monkey's living in a large glass fronted enclosure, with a water spring and plenty of vegetation for climbing. You will be fascinated watching their interactions with each other - these clever primates can even swim! Currently there are several baby proboscis monkey's that have been born in the Wildlife Park.

Gibbons are found in the subtropical forests of South East Asia and usually live in family groups of 2 - 6 individuals. They are territorial and excellent climbers and jumpers, capable of reaching up to 9 metres in a single jump. You may assist with the following duties within the primates section;

  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Preparing food and feeding 
  • Moving orang-utans from the night stalls to their outside enclosures 
  • Handling other primates when required
  • To assist with feeding time at the exhibits and talk to visitors about the various different primates
  • Inspecting animals for different behaviour or signs of illness and report to the veterinarian/other staff where necessary. 


Walking into the Aviary is like stepping into the middle of the jungle! The forest canopy is covered with a mesh that is so high that you barely even notice it hovering above the trees. A wooden walkway leads you through the Aviary and across a stream where birds can be seen fishing and wading in the mud. Talking parrots will greet you 'hello' and you may even be lucky enough to spot a mouse deer foraging in the vegetation.

You may assist with the following duties within the Main Aviary, the Macaw exhibit, the Myna exhibit and the Hornbill exhibit; 

  • Cleaning enclosures thoroughly to provide a clean environment for the birds
  • Preparing food
  • Maintaining records of the number of birds that come to the feeding platform and reporting anything abnormal to the veterinarian/other staff
  • To assist with feeding time and talk to visitors about the various different birds


You'll assist with Cattle (Anchole and Bali), Axis and Deer (Timor, Red, Barking and Mouse).  You may assist with the following duties; 

  • Moving animals from night stalls to enclosures.
  • Inspecting animals for different behaviour or signs of illness and report to the veterinarian/other staff where necessary. 
  • Cleaning enclosures thoroughly to ensure a clean environment for the animals

Start Dates

All year round - flexible start dates

Costs / Benefits

For 4 weeks the cost is £2095.
Included is full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home. There are support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office. All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated. Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, homestay, apartment or flat).
You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.
Pre-departure you’ll receive an information pack about your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout. International flights not included.


No qualifications or previous experience are necessary, just a good dose of enthusiasm! Everyone is welcome on a BVOL programme, whether gap year, undergraduate, on a career break - or even retired! From 17 years old upwards, and all nationalities. This placement would suit anyone who wants to make a real difference, wants first-hand experience of a different culture and has initiative.

Booking / Enquiry

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