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Volunteer at a sanctuary in Malaysia with orangutans for a meaningful experience! This sanctuary serves as a home to orangutans who have been rescued from illegal possession and/or trade until they are ready to be released back into the wild. Lend a hand in an array of different sanctuary improvement tasks and initiatives helping to care for, and ultimately save these wonderful and extremely intelligent animals!
Location of the Project:  Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
Project length:  Min 3 weeks - Max 8 weeks
Arrival Airport:  Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
Volunteer Work:  Sanctuary improvement, maintenance, husbandry
Age:  18 - 55
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 15 international volunteers

What's Included

Accommodations:  Dormitory style accommodation
Food:  3 meals a day are supplied during the week. Only breakfast is provided on weekends.
Airport Transfers:  Volunteers must make their own way to KL Sentral train station to meet the local team.
Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  One-week orientation including a tour of Taiping, community work in a local village, cooking lessons and more.
Support:  Local in-country team and 24-hour emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, transfer to train station, personal expenses, personal transportation and visa (if required).
Malaysia is home to an array of sights and sounds. Made up of buzzing cities, idyllic islands and exotic, lush forests - it truly is a magical place. You can spend your days admiring mosques and temples, visiting remote villages or cosmopolitan skyscrapers. This project is located in the town of Taiping, situated in Perak, Malaysia. Known as one of the wettest areas in Malaysia, Taiping is also one of the greenest and most lush regions, with an abundance of unique flora, fauna and ancient rain-trees.

The project site is located on a 35-acre island nestled within a 7000-acre freshwater lakeside. It has progressed from being a sanctuary where visitors experience first-hand awareness and education about the orangutan, to a recognized conservation facility and referral centre for the endangered Bornean orangutan.
The adventure begins with a one-week orientation including a tour of Kuching, a boat trip along the river, visits to nature reserves and ancient caves and a trip to the local bazaar.

As a volunteer on this project you will be involved in all areas of the development and maintenance of the orangutan sanctuary. This may include being involved in activities for enrichment, husbandry, organic planting as a food source, construction and the overall maintenance of the sanctuary. 

Some of your tasks may include:

Construction: The construction of climbing structures for the orangutans, as well as building boardwalks for tourists and sanctuary keepers.

Maintenance: The rainforest is a harsh environment for the longevity of any man-made structures. Anything that is built needs regular maintenance, including cleaning, painting and repairing.
Enrichment: You will be involved in creating and producing enrichment material for the orangutans. This promotes natural behavior and will enhance their well-being. You will be able to observe the orangutans enjoying the enrichment materials you create.
Husbandry: Husbandry includes tasks related to the cleaning, feeding and caring of the animals. As a volunteer, you will be involved in the preparation and feeding of the orangutans. You will also assist in the cleaning and maintenance of the orangutan exhibition area.

A typical day: The day will begin bright and early with breakfast from 6:30 am to 7:15. After breakfast volunteers will go to the jetty and take a boat to Orangutan Island. From 8:00am until noon, volunteers will work in the morning activity. Lunch is from 12:00-1:00pm, followed by the afternboon activity from 1:00-3:00pm. At 3:00pm volunteers will head back to the accommodations and dinner is served at 6:00pm. 
Please note: The sanctuary is an operational rescue and rehabilitation centre and changes may occur to the arranged daily schedule based on the current needs of the sanctuary.

Holidays: Volunteer work does not take place during national holidays, but you are always welcome to join in the local celebration.
Please note these consecutive holidays, which may impact short-term placements, before registering:
  • February 16-17, 2018
  • June 15-16, 2018
Internet:  Wifi is available in public areas.
Laundry:  There are no laundry facilities available at the accommodations. For an additional fee you may make use of the Laundromat nearby.
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay in shared dormitory-style accommodation, with between 4 - 8 people per room. There are hot showers and Western - style toilets available.
Food:  3 meals a day are provided during the week and breakfast on weekends. There is a supermarket located within the vicinity of the accommodations. Malaysian food is tasty and diverse and you can expect to experience a myriad of flavors and meals during your stay. Typical dishes include wanton noodles (noodles and pork dumplings either dry or soup), nasi goreng (fried rice and vegetables) or roti canai (is a type of Indian influenced flatbread found in Malaysia. Breakfasts are varied and include toast, cereals, etc. Tea, coffee and purified water is available at the house. We do not recommend that you drink water straight from the tap.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  •  Minimum age of 18
  •  Physically fit
  •  Love and respect for animals
  •  Flexible and open-minded to do all kinds of chores, depending on project needs
  •  Adaptability to the weather in Malaysia (high temperatures and humidity)
  •  Basic level of English
Orientation (Included): Following your arrival, a  transfer coordinator will take you to the center for a week of orientation to begin your immersion into the local Malaysian culture. During this week, you will be introduced to the best of Taiping and the surrounding areas.

On weekends, interns can visit a range of different markets or Taiping - the oldest town in Malaysia. Another popular spot is Kuala Sepetang, better known for its eagle sightings and indigenous mangrove site.

With ETS train services frequently available, it is possible to travel to some or Malaysia's well-known destinations including:

Kuala Lumpur– Malaysia’s capital and incredibly vibrant city

Penang Island – The stunning Malaysian island hosts white beaches and crystal clear waters, and for history buffs there is George Town, capital of Penang state and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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