About The Project

Volunteer at this world-renowned orangutan sanctuary to play a direct role in the conservation of apes and sun bears. This project poses the opportunity to encounter the stunning Bornean orangutan on a daily basis as you help to provide them with enrichment which aids the rehabilitation process.

This sanctuary is home to more than 390 orangutans, which is the largest number of captive orangutans in the world. 2012 marked the start of their orangutan release program where as many apes as possible are released into protected areas of rainforest and over 260 orangutans have been brought back to freedom in that short time. This release program is unprecedented anywhere else on the planet, however, not all of the orangutans will be able to be released back into the wild, and this inspirational rescue centre provides such apes with forever homes at the sanctuary.

Your primary role as an orangutan sanctuary volunteer will be to provide the apes and sun bears with enrichment. Enrichment is a vital aspect of life for animals living in captivity, for those who will be released, as well as those who cannot. Enrichment helps to teach animals innate skills that they would otherwise learn from their mothers out in the wild, and volunteers will fulfil this role in a range of ways, from collecting leaves for the orangutans to build nests at night as they would in the jungle, or distributing rotten wood for the sun bears to rip apart and forage for food inside.

It’s not just stunning wildlife waiting to be discovered here, you will explore some of the most beautiful and verdant jungle surroundings, as well as absorb an authentic taste of Indonesian culture. Don’t just take our word for it though, come and see for yourself!



Take a look below at a typical itinerary for a two-week duration as an orangutan sanctuary volunteer!

Day 1 – You will arrive at Palangkaraya Airport, where you will be met by a project representative and transferred to the project site. You will have some time to settle in and meet your fellow volunteers before receiving a briefing by the project facilitator.

Day 2 – You will take a tranquil river cruise around what the project calls, the orangutan islands. There are three huge islands that surround the sanctuary, and this is where orangutans in the final stages of rehabilitation spend their final stretch to freedom. The orangutans live in semi-wild conditions on these islands, so it allows them to put their wild skills to the test and be monitored before they eventual release. After lunch, you’ll have your first experience of chopping down leaves for the orangutans to make their nests with!

Day 3 – Your morning will be spent preparing food for the abundance of orangutans at the sanctuary. This is a vital task where the contribution of volunteers is invaluable due to the sheer amount of apes that need to be fed, and some of them even have special diets! Then it's off to collect bamboo to work on create enrichment for these incredible apes. In the afternoon, volunteers will grab their machetes and collect nesting materials.

Day 4 – Day 4 will consist of creating enrichment for the orangutans and sun bears. These are standard types of enrichment which are provided to the orangutans such as happy sacks where the apes have to forage for what treats lie within, but the team are always open to new ideas, so if you think of a great new enrichment activity, be sure to let the team know!

Day 5 – After a morning of preparing food for the orangutans, you will then embark on a scenic trek to the hilltop of Bukit Tangkiling. As you walk you will encounter the exotic sights and sounds of the jungle, as well as ancient religious buildings of shrines of the locals. A truly enjoyable activity, this will be your first real taste of Indonesian culture.

Day 6 – In the morning you will create and distribute enrichment to the orangutans or help with cleaning out the sun bears. After your afternoon activity, you'll have the opportunity to watch the juvenile orangutans enjoy the playground as they return from their lessons in orangutan jungle school! Keep your cameras at the ready, you never know what special moments you may want to remember forever!

Day 7 – During the day you will have some free time to get some rest and to relax – a well-earned break after a week of hard work! The evening poses an exciting opportunity to visit the traditional night market. The market is where the locals head to purchase their groceries and more, and with its lack of tourists, this is the perfect opportunity to interact with the locals and try some delicious street food!

Day 8 – Today you'll take a trip into town to pick up extra materials for enrichment making. Then after a lunch with your fellow volunteers you'll visit a local tourist market. If you’d like some souvenirs or are partial to some retail therapy, this is the place to do it!

Day 9 – Prepare to get your hands dirty today, as your group may take part in essential reforestation work around the sanctuary. Or you’ll split into two groups to either work with the enrichment team or take part in animal husbandry.

Day 10 – Today, all volunteers will be split into two groups to alternate between creating and distributing enrichment to the gorgeous great apes or completing husbandry tasks. Husbandry can range from enclosure cleaning to site maintenance, but this is dependent on the needs of the sanctuary at the time. After the working day is done, it's time to see the young orangutans making their way back from jungle school again! 

Days 11- 12 – These days are special days, as you will get to observe the orangutans in their semi-wild conditions on the orangutan islands! Starting with daily enrichment tasks, you’ll soon head out to the islands to spend some time watching the apes on the islands, making sure they are healthy and adapting well to their semi-wild life.

Day 13 – Sadly this will be your final day on a two-week trip. If staying for 4 weeks, the itinerary will repeat itself. However, if you are departing, you’ll spend the morning packing up your belongings and bidding fond farewells before being transferred back to the airport to begin your journey home.