Volunteer Programme

We’re looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our Volunteer Programme to support orangutan conservation in Borneo. We need people who will thrive in a tropical jungle and love to be surrounded by nature.

Volunteers do not need to have any prior experience, just a willingness to help and an interest in wildlife and forest conservation. In return, we will share our passion, offering a unique and rewarding experience, which will help secure a safer future for the last remaining wild orangutans and forests in Borneo.

 

Where are volunteers based?

Volunteers will be based in the Sabangau Forest (580,000 hectares of peat-swamp), the largest area of lowland rainforest remaining in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo.

Peat-swamp forests are remarkably diverse and home to over 30% of the remaining population of wild orangutans in Borneo. Other animal life, includes gibbon, sun bear, clouded leopard, sambar deer, civets, tree shrews, water monitors, pythons, over 200 species of bird, including the rhinoceros hornbill and Wallace’s hawk eagle, and a large and diverse invertebrate community.

Peat-swamp forms under waterlogged conditions through the incomplete breakdown of organic matter – dead leaves, branches, trees – which has built up over many thousands of years to create a thick peat layer up to 18m deep. Standing atop the peat is a rich tropical rainforest, with a huge diversity of plant life, including large timber trees, such as ramin and swamp meranti, a wide variety of pitcher plants and sustainable commercial species, such as rattan and rubber trees.

Base camp is just inside the forest approximately one hour, by car, boat and, uniquely, small train, from the provincial capital of Palangka Raya. Facilities in camp are basic, but comfortable, including accommodation in purpose-built dormitory huts, washing and toilet facilities, office, kitchen and cooks.

 

What do volunteers do?

Volunteers will assist with wildlife and habitat monitoring surveys and forest restoration in the majestic Sabangau Forest. Leaving from base camp each day, volunteers will venture into the forest to carry out essential conservation activities to ensure Sabangau is a safe haven for wildlife. Volunteers will join a week-long expedition to one of our remote satellite camps to explore the area and help carry out surveys to improve our understanding of the deeper areas of the jungle.

Through BNF’s Education Programme, which brings together children to learn about the forest and how to protect it, volunteers will assist with environmental education and provide language lessons in local villages around the Sabangau Forest.

Volunteers will gain an in-depth understanding of BNF’s research and conservation activities from our committed and passionate team of field researchers. These activities include primate behaviour and population surveys, camera trap surveys, butterfly and dragonfly monitoring, and peat-swamp forest restoration techniques. Volunteers may also help maintain BNF’s research facilities, which are essential for our ongoing research and conservation work.

During the programme, volunteers will get back to nature! Base camp is in a stunning location, on the edge of the Sabangau River, surrounded by towering, green, lush trees and the mesmerising colours of the peat-swamp waters. Home to over 6,000 Bornean orangutans; Sabangau offers the unique opportunity to observe our red ape cousins living freely in their natural habitat. Every day volunteers have the chance to spot some of Borneo’s fascinating and diverse wildlife while supporting BNF’s research and conservation programmes to protect this tropical forest.

 

“I have loved my time here. The programme itself was well planned and well executed. It’s been a privilege to be shown Sabangau by a team of such energetic, dedicated and knowledgeable people. Thank you so much!” – Jocelyn Paulley, a volunteer from 2017 who spent time learning about dragonfly surveys and species identification

Dates

Group 1: 28 July-25 August 2018 (application deadline 15 June)

Group 2: 2 September-30 September 2018 (application deadline 15 July)

Group 3: 8 October-5 November 2018 (application deadline 15 August)

 

Costs

The cost to participate for four weeks is £1,025. The fee covers airport pick-up, accommodation in Palangka Raya, transport to and from camp, a trip to the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) Orangutan Reintroduction Centre, accommodation and use of all facilities at base camp.

The fee also includes an important contribution to the long-term conservation of Borneo Nature Foundation and our partners, University of Palangka Raya, to support Forest Patrol Unit and Fire-fighting Teams.

Costs you will need to cover include international and domestic airfares, visa fees and travel insurance. Day-to-day costs are typically small and may include toiletries, food and drinks consumed while in town and any snacks you may choose to take to camp.

If you would like to apply for the Volunteer Programme, please complete the Application Form and email the completed form with your CV to join@borneonature.org.

 

Join us in the jungle!

Application form

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