WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
The Wildlife Centre works hard to take in the many animals found to be vulnerable and injured within what should be their natural rainforest home. This projects overall goal is to work in collaboration with organisations towards genetically sustainable orangutan populations in large, well-protected habitats, to secure the long-term future of the species as well as other species inhabiting the rainforest. Volunteers provide a vital contribution for both funding and actively helping with the work undertaken at the Wildlife Centre, with the aim to rehabilitate and release as many of these animals back into the wild as possible.
From working to improve husbandry standards to providing enrichment for the orangutans, your time spent volunteering here will be highly enjoyable and rewarding
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The project runs by dates rather than days of the week and therefore you may be required to work on a Saturday or Sunday. However, you will get 2 days off a week and may be able to take more if you wish. You will be working from 8:15am – 12pm and 2pm-5pm each day. There are 4 main areas where volunteers will provide support – Animal husbandry, animal enrichment, construction and maintenance. Generally, volunteers will carry out husbandry tasks every morning, followed by one of the other 3 activities in the afternoon.
Husbandry – Tasks will include feeding, cleaning and caring for the animals. There are 3 husbandry areas where volunteers will assist:
2. Sun Bears
3. Small Primates
Each morning starts at 8:15am with husbandry of the 3 animal areas. This will include going into animal enclosures to hide their food whilst the animals are still in their night houses – this can be really fun and will require you to channel your inner orangutan, monkey or bear! Encouraging the animals to engage in natural foraging behaviours keeps them stimulated mentally and physically which is critical for their welfare.
Enrichment – Without a stimulating environment, these animals can become stressed, bored and sick as a consequence and therefore creating enrichment items or structures is one of the most important jobs of a volunteer. You will get to make varied enrichment and then watch the animals use it which is a fun and worthwhile activity for everyone involved!
Maintenance – The jungle enviroment jungle environment is harsh, anything that is built needs regular maintenance to ensure its longevity. Volunteers play a crucial role in the maintenance of the project site, and without this added manpower, the in country team would not be able to continue their conservation efforts in the way the currently do! This work is usually a lot of cleaning, painting and repairing enclosures.
Construction – These tasks will be varied and could include:
• Climbing structures for orangutans, sun bears, clouded leopards and other animals
• Building ponds for crocodiles, orangutans and turtles
• Building boardwalks for tourist and keeper access
• Creating feeding platforms in the jungle for animals that are soft released
• Assisting with the creation of new projects and enclosures
When volunteering on this project you will be treated as a member of staff and therefore if during your stay there are any animal surgeries, animal relocations or released happening, you may get the chance to observe these! You may also get the opportunity to accompany a staff member to do night walks – many of the amazing wildlife if nocturnal and so night walks can be an amazing experience!
During your time on the project you will also get the chance to go on a field trip day which involved visiting another orangutan rehabilitation centre, some beautiful caves and a beach! This is an amazing day out for all involved.
The work you will be undertaking will be varied and so you should be prepared for anything! Many of the tasks you will work on will have an obvious and immediate impact on the welfare of the animals you will get to know well. Although the work is physically demanding and always outdoors, it will be hugely rewarding.
Although the days will be long and you will be working hard, there will be plenty of free time to explore the jungle, to socialise in the evenings with other volunteers, or simply relax and enjoy a book for some down time. You will also have days off during your stay – as a once in a life time trip to Borneo, volunteers should take full advantage of these and explore the surrounding area or go further afield! Popular weekend destinations include: Bako National Park, Kuching City, Damai Beach, Sarawak Cultural Village, Gunung Gading National Park, Santubong for kayaking trips, and Kubah National Park. Staff on the project can help you book these trips once you arrive and meet other volunteers.