Program Details


An awesome scenic part of Perak, Malaysia invites you to participate and provide your helping hand in the Orangutan conservation program. This conservation project is designed to protect and preserve the orangutans and their habitat. Work to help with various conservation activities and initiatives to protect, care for, save these wonderful and extremely intelligent and gentle creatures.

Aims & ObjectivesThe aims and objectives of this conservation project is to spread awareness about these beautiful creatures, prevent them from going extinct, conserve their habitat, provide opportunity for volunteers and public to understand the importance of orangutans in the ecosystem, provide help and support for the orangutans and not but the least to preserve these species for future generations.

Program DescriptionThe focus is purely orangutan educational conservation and behavioral research centre, mainly on enrichment, husbandry, organic planting as food source, construction, and maintenance of the sanctuary.

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 recognised ex-situ conservation facility and referral centre for the endangered Bornean orangutan.

The Orangutan Sanctuary with assistance in expertise from regional primatologists and conservation biologists aims to strengthen its commitment towards scientific research (mainly behavioral study and data collection) on the Bornean orangutan plays an important role in building local conservation capacity on various aspects of primatology for example primate behavior, its ecology, captive care, veterinary medicine and conservation biology.

The sanctuary is geared to serve as a temporary holding facility for those orangutans rescued from illegal possession and or trade before being returned to their natural habitat, with mechanisms in place to treat, care and rehabilitate those orangutans assessed unfit for immediate return to the wild. It also serves as a centre for training, developing and enhancing the capacity of graduate students and young scientists in carrying out both in-situ and ex-situ conservation research and activities on the orangutan and its habitats.

Your Roles - General InformationA good level of fitness is required to participate in this project. The work is sometimes physical, the heat and humidity make this more challenging. There is a working schedule and plan setup for each participant. Please take note that you are coming to an operational rescue and rehabilitation centre, we cannot predict what may happen each day, potential new orangutan arrivals or any of the current animals under the centre’s care. Therefore, we ask the participants to be flexible and tolerant of potential delays or changes to the planned work as different projects may get reprioritized.

Patience is needed as you adjust to ‘Malaysia time’ – participants always come with huge amounts of enthusiasm and energy to plough into the project, which is a massive asset and positively impact on the sanctuary. You simply add a helpful and necessary piece to a much larger puzzle, and you should not expect the world of animal conservation to make great strides forward in the timeframe of your project. The Malaysian approach to work is also vastly different from the Western mentality. Therefore please prepare to embrace the cultural difference rather than display frustration and/or incredulity at the local labouring techniques and ethos.Please remember that:

  • If all conditions were perfect for the animals, there would be no on-going need for labour on the island. One of the reasons you are here is to facilitate the improvement of conditions in the future.
  • You can always ask questions – there are explanations as to why each individual animal has ended up in the sanctuary, and is in its current housing. These reasons can be complex and varied, but we feel that to get the most out of your experience you should learn about some of the issues facing both conservationists and animal keepers in the developing world.
  • It is not always possible to improve the conditions for one individual animal or group of animals in a short time you are with us on the project. This is not to say we will not be working towards such developments in the future.

You will be treated as temporary staff members when with us, you are expected to participate in any and all jobs that are required for the sanctuary’s maintenance and development. You may also get to witness events that are only the privilege of full-time members of the staff. No special skills or experience is required to be a participant on this project. We generally create jobs and projects that anyone with a reasonable fitness level can help us with, as the majority of our participants do not have prior skills. It is therefore not always simple to reassign tasks and create projects to accommodate specific skills or requests, but we will certainly make use of veterinary physician / builders / carpenters / welders / mechanics etc when and where we can!

The work at the project site is always varied and a working schedule will be arranged for each participating group, ensuring that you will be set on a different task each day. Some work is physically demanding in the outdoors, meaning you also have to cope with the tropical elements. You should truly be prepared for anything! The following are some examples of the works, the actual work maybeConstruction

  • Climbing structures for orangutan
  • Building boardwalks for easier tourist and keeper access around the centre

MaintenanceThe rainforest is a harsh environment for the longevity of any man-made structures. Therefore, anything that we build needs regular maintenance to ensure that is does not rust/rot/get eaten by termites within a couple of years. This work is usually a lot of cleaning, painting and repairing.EnrichmentYou will be involved in the process of producing enrichment material for the orangutans. This promotes natural behaviours and will enhance their well-being of the orangutans during this period but you will be able to get the chance to observe them from a safe distance enjoying the enrichment that have created!HusbandryHusbandry simply means cleaning, feeding and caring for captive animals. Everyday you will have to follow all of the rules and schedule for feeding as well as cleaning time. You will assist in farming and planting, food preparation and care of orangutan exhibition area.

When working around the animals, you will be expected to follow best practise guidelines which include: No food or drinks (outside of the diet provided by the centre) to be given to the animals at any time. Always listen to and follow the instructions of your supervisor/the animal keepers/the rangers.

These guidelines are for the safety both of yourself, and the animals that you are coming to help. We are working to create a new model of responsible tourism, where the interaction with the animals are kept to an absolute minimum, yet the impact and educational value to the human participant is incredibly high.

Typical DayMonday to Friday 8:15am-3:30pm You will leave the accommodation at 8:15am. Your day will begin on the project wherein you get involved deep into various activities of the project. The work on this project is physical, and the heat and humidity add an extra challenging layer to this. You will be carrying out a variety of tasks including husbandry, construction work, enrichment and maintenance. The “best” jobs are not saved for the participants - you will be treated as pseudo staff members during the duration of your program. You will be required for assistance wherever the need may arise at the sanctuary.

Starting DatesEvery Monday

DurationMinimum 1 week and maximum 12 weeks

Participant Criteria & RequirementsStandard RequirementsMinimum age: 8 and above (8-16 year-old must be accompanied and supervised by parent/guardian/teacher)Maximum age: -Minimum English level: BasicCRB required: YesPassport copy required: On SignupResume copy required: NoRequired qualification: None

Additional RequirementsDue to the nature of the work, a minimum physical fitness is required

What is Included:

  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation, dorm or hostel
  • Meals, Monday - Friday breakfast & lunch, Saturday & Sunday breakfast only (12 meals per week) 
  • Transportation to project site
  • 24/7 in country emergency support
  • Dedicated project coordinator
  • Volunteer placement

What"s Excluded:

  • Flight
  • Insurance
  • Airport drop-off at conclusion of the project
  • Visa
  • Spending money for additional activities
Location and Arrival Airport

Malaysia - Peninsular

Arrival Airport: Penang International Airport (IATA Code: PEN)

Pickup Point: Penang International Airport Arrival Hall

Country Info

Malaysia consists of two parts which could hardly be any more different and are separated from each other by the South China Sea. While the mainland is a multicultural place that has been moderately developed Borneo will make you feel like you are in the middle of the wilderness. Nonetheless its jungles are stunning and will most likely excite you if you are at all interested in becoming a wildlife conservation volunteer in Malaysia. From highly developed Kuala Lumpur which is home to one of the tallest building in the world to the countryside there is a great amount of travel or volunteer opportunities in Malaysia which are waiting for you.

Not a member. Sign Up now

Orangutan Education and Conservation, West Malaysia

Animals / Environmental Conservation



From 16 Feb 2020 To 22 Feb 2020

390.00 per person