Orangutan And Wildlife Conservation

Batu Kapal Conservation
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Coordinator | Batu Kapal Conservation
Coordinator | Batu Kapal Conservation
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Immerse yourself in the jungle. Wake to the sounds of monkeys calling along the river in the morning!
Be amazed by the abundance of wildlife in this rare and beautiful Biolink area adjoining the Gunung Leuser national park.
Make memories and friendships that last a life time.
Immerse yourself in the local culture. Meet the locals, they will make you will feel like one of their family!
Explore the jungle, rivers, markets and surrounding villages in your free time.
Join us on a 1 - 8 week jungle adventure to help protect the habitat of the endangered wild Sumatran Orang-Utan and other animals in one of the worlds oldest rainforests! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About the Project

We are a community based conservation program, run by a group of dedicated local people who are passionate about nature and the environment  and who want to protect the animals and rain forest where they live. If you are looking for a  hands on conservation project where you can monitor wild life, replant the rain forest, help with recycling and up-cycling educational projects to protect the jungle and really make a difference to the communities you will be working with, please come and join us!

Our aim is to protect and conserve the rare and endangered native fauna and flora that occurs in this important buffer zone and Wildlife Biolink occurring on private lands at Batu Kapal which adjoins the Gunung Leuser NP in North Sumatra. Our project site is located in the jungle, a 15-20 minute motorbike ride or a 50 minute walk from the village of  Bukit Lawang.

Working with our new project partner in North Sumatra, the Batu Kapal Conservation Sanctuary, you will be contributing to the protection the endangered wild Orang-utan population and other rare and endangered animals that occur in this critically important national park buffer zone and wildlife corridor occurring on these private landholdings in the area.

We are surrounded by nature and geological formations, with frequent visits from the local population of wild orangutans and sightings of porcupines, slow loris and civet cats. We have resident wild populations of thomas leaf monkeys, silver monkeys, macaques, water monitors, geckos and slow loris in the project area as well as many different species of birds, reptiles, frogs, butterflies, dragonflies and insects.

Sumatra represents the last remaining natural habitat for Orang-utans in Indonesia. the Sumatran Orang-utan is now classified as critically endangered.

Forest cover in Sumatra was reduced by 61% from 1985-1997 due to logging, infrastructure development, internal migration, and plantation development. The Sumatran Orang-utan population has decreased by 86% over the past 100 years.  The most recent estimate places the figure around 7,300 left in the wild, with steady losses occurring every year.

Batu Kapal Conservation Program activities include
  1. Surveying, mapping and monitoring the area, habitats and animals with GPS. To identify existing landholdings, their primary land use and the extant native vegetation.
  2. To map orangutan and primate habitation and food forage areas. To map known orangutan and primate movement pathways with GPS.
  3. To develop a full species list for fauna and flora. To identify the ecosystem service provided by each subject. With a view to developing a better understanding of what is missing. To establish recovery programmes for threatened and vulnerable species.
  4. Create wildlife corridors to reconnect fragmented habitat for orangutans, primates and other animals between the national park and the nature buffer zone occurring on private lands as per the project plan
  5. Conducting animal and bird monitoring and surveys

    • Locating, observing, identifying, monitoring, photographing and GPS recording areas with wild populations of orang-utans and other animals and birds in the Batu Kapal conservation project area and at specified GPS points of interest in the program
    • Survey, GPS, photograph and collect data of sightings of Orang-Utan’s Nests and map them on google earth pro
    • identifying, GPS recording and monitoring orang-utans and other primates daily activity pattern, including migration paths and feeding, resting and travelling patterns
    • observe, map, monitor, survey, photograph and GPS record the significant flora and fauna in the Batu Kapal conservation project area, including orang-utans, silver monkeys, other animals and birds
    • dusk, dawn and night walks by spot light to gps, photograph and record sightings of slow loris, civet cat, leopard cat, sun bear, bats and porcupine
    • gps, record and map every large tree  (eg ficus, trembesi and pakam trees) in the area and record when fruiting, as these are important trees for orangutans and other primates and map them on google earthpro
    • identify individual orangutans to ascertain the population of orangutans living in the Batu Kapal biolink buffer zone, by taking photos of each individual orangutan face and identifying each orangutans unique features, and hence being able to track their range 
    • Innovative up-cycling plastic waste projects, including reusing single use plastics to make eco bricks, sleeping mats, bags and baskets
    • preparing, consolidating and analysing the monitoring data sheets on  the excel spreadsheet data base and recording data on the mapping software
    • GPS trail mapping, using garmin GPS and updating the  mapping software

Other Skills

We are looking for volunteers that have a passion for wildlife conservation, an ability to work as a team with other volunteers and by yourself, have an upbeat, positive attitude and are committed to achieving the projects goals. Tasks are not particularly physically strenuous, however a fair level of fitness is advised as the climate is hot and humid.

While no specific skills or experience are required, we are looking for volunteers that are highly motivated, have significant drive and able to work independently or as part of a small team after the initial induction and orientation. Our volunteer coordinator is here to assist and support you, but we expect our volunteers to be self directed and motivated in completing your daily volunteer activities.

To ensure you have a great volunteering experience with us, please take the opportunity every day to discuss the programmed activities with the volunteer coordinator, as well as any specific activities you might like to undertake during your stay. If you have any particular concerns or need further advice or support, please discuss this with the coordinator so it can be addressed and resolved.

Our Respect Jungle Guidelines are designed to help you understand and enjoy your time in the jungle in an environmentally sensitive and respectful way. We follow a strict no contact of wild animal policy.  Let's help protect this fragile ecosystem so your children and grandchildren can enjoy this natural wonder for many years to come!

Respect Wildlife – Keep wild animals wild! Never feed wild animals or birds.
  • Feeding wildlife damages their health alters natural behaviours, and exposes them to predators and other dangers. Store food and rubbish securely. Wild animals have adapted over time to the food found in nature. Human food can make animals sick.
  • Feeding can also make animals reliant on humans for food, which may lead to aggressive behaviour.
  • Keep your food and wastes in a secure container. Plastic bags are not secure, animals can easily rip these open
Observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Do not follow or approach wild animals. Keep a respectable distance (5 metres) and if the animal shows signs of fear or aggressiveness, back off immediately and give the animal plenty of space to move on.
  • Avoid chasing or following wildlife that is attempting to escape.
  • Keep watching times to a reasonable length to avoid stressing the animals.
  • Move slowly, quietly, and in full view to avoid scaring or stressing animals.
Avoid touching wilds animals.
  • To minimise the spread of disease to wild animals, familiarisation with humans and for your own safety from injury and bites
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, and raising young. Touching nests or young animals may cause their parents to abandon them.
  • Report any injured animals to the local land managers. Do not attempt to handle the animal.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

All native plants, animals, geological features, historical and cultural remains are protected by law in national parks. Ensure that they remain undisturbed.

Avoid activities with large groups

Large groups have a greater impact and affect the natural experience for both the groups and other park users

Stay on the track!

Tracks are carefully designed to allow people to visit natural environments while minimising the impact on the environment. Staying on track minimises erosion, limits spreading of diseases and weeds, and helps you from getting lost

Dispose of Waste Properly
  • “Pack it in, Pack it out.” Inspect your campsite and rest areas for rubbish and spilled food.
  • Pack and carry out all rubbish and leftover food including organics.
  • Do not burn or bury rubbish. Rubbish that is half-burned or buried will attract animals and make a site unattractive to other visitors
  • Be careful not to drop rubbish while walking on tracks.
  • When available use established toilet facilities.
  • In other situations, carry a trowel and deposit solid human waste in catholes dug in topsoil – usually 10-15cm deep and at least 100m from water, camp and tracks. Cover and disguise the hole when finished.
  • Pack out all hygiene products in a suitable container.
  • Be careful of improper cigarette butt disposal. Take all cigarette butts out with you.
  • Plan meals to avoid generating messy, smelly rubbish. It is critical to wildlife that we pack out kitchen waste and leftover food. Don’t count on a fire to dispose of it. Rubbish that is half-burned or buried will attract animals and make a site unattractive to other visitors. Overlooked rubbish is litter, and litter is not only ugly — it can also be deadly to the wildlife.
  • Animals scavenging a meal from a tasty smelling morsel can ingest bits of dropped food packaging damaging their digestive system. Plastic six-pack holders and plastic bags kill birds, fish and animals. Fishing lines, lures and nets ensnare, kill, injure and maim wildlife, so be careful not to leave any behind in rivers or streams. Pack in plastic bags to carry your rubbish out (and maybe someone else’s).
  • Before moving on from a camp or resting place, search the area for “micro-rubbish” such as bits of food and rubbish, including cigarette butts and organic litter such as fruit peel, egg and nut shells.

Typical day

Your Itinerary

Phase 1 Day : Introduction Day!

Arrive at Medan (KNO) airport, Sumatra, to be picked up and head to the jungle to begin your adventure at the Batu Kapal conservation project site!  We will arrange to pick you up from the Medan airport  or your hotel and transport you to the project site

Phase 2: Orangutan Habitat Restoration

The base for your volunteering placement is the Batu Kapal Conservation Project site, just 20 minutes by motor bike into the jungle from the village of Bukit Lawang, the last settlement before entering the Gunung Leuser National Park. Gunung Leuser has one of the most concentrated population of Orang-utan in the Southern hemisphere but deforestation and encroachment of their habitat has destroyed their environment and displaced them from the natural forest.

Activities include:

Wildlife Biolink Corridor Program

  1. Nursery Activities – Establishing and maintaining a tree and plant nursery is an important component for the creation, restoration and maintenance of the Wildlife Biolink Corridor Project. You will be collecting seedlings, seeds and fruits for nursery, and also learn how to prepare and cultivate tree saplings or seeds in the nursery
  2. Establishing Wildlife Biolink Corridors to reconnect the fragmented forest occurring on private lands to the Gunung Leauser National Park. Through this activity volunteers will gain an understand, as well as be directly involved in creating wildlife corridors needed by wildlife (including critically endangered Sumatran orangutan and other primates and animals), through tree and bamboo plantings and establishing rope bridge crossings.
  3. Tree Maintenance - Maintaining trees and tree plantings in the biolink and conservation area is a crucial part of wildlife corridor program, to ensure a higher survival rate of planted trees.

Batu Kapal Orangutan Monitoring Program

Working in small groups of volunteers in the project area, your activities will include monitoring the population of wild Orangutans at Batu Kapal, occurring in isolated rainforest fragments on private lands, abutted by palm oil, rubber plantations and farm land. The longer term aim is to develop and conduct an education program in schools near this Orangutan habitat.

Please note we have a strict no human contact or feeding policy of  wild animals. Our aim is to keep wild animals wild through the protection and reforestation of their habitat!

Animal Surveying, Monitoring and Data Collection Program

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to monitor, survey, record and track movements of some of the forest’s most elusive wildlife, including other primates such as Thomas Leaf Monkeys, Silver Langurs and Macaques !  This activity is run up to 3 times a day at different times to capture data over a complete day. 

Activities include:

Conducting animal and bird monitoring and surveys

  • Locating, observing, identifying, monitoring, photographing and GPS recording areas with wild populations of orang-utans, primates and other animals and birds in the Batu Kapal conservation project area and at specified GPS points of interest in the program
  • See detail of other activities undertaken in the section above

Biodiversity identification

  • Learning to identify tree species
  • Insect identification (eg butterflies, dragon flies etc).
  • Keeping a photographic record of animal and bird sightings, as well as plants identified
  • Compiling, identifying and analysing data collected
  •  Developing a species list of fauna and flora occurring in the conservation area

Upcycling Plastics Project. 

Assist with cleaning and rubbish removal on trails, in the conservation site and along the river once a week.

Making Eco bricks from single use plastic bottles and plastic bags. 

Building rubbish collection bins, fences and buildings out of eco bricks.

Making sleeping mats, reusable bags, baskets out of yarn made from single use plastic bags.

Cleaning and maintaining work at the base. Volunteers are responsible for cleaning and maintaining their volunteer dormitory and bathroom, helping with the cooking meals and washing their dishes

ROAR COMMUNITY PROJECT – (Reduce or Activity Recycle Project)
Activities on the ROAR project include: 
  • Helping with recycling project and sorting at the conservation site and at the local guesthouse 
  • Helping at the project site with composting to produce organic compost and fertiliser 
  • Helping plant and weed and harvest edible garden, fruits and vegetables 
  • Reducing plastic waste through the ROAR program. Stage one – zero plastic bottles project 

Free-time activities

Batu Kapal is a beautiful jungle location in mountains adjacent to Gunung Leasur National Park on the Landak RIver and just 15-20 minutes by motorbike or a 50 minute walk from  the village of Bukit Lawang - prime wild Sumatran orangutan country.

In your spare time on the weekends you will have the opportunity to visiting some nice places around Bukit Lawang. Or stay on afterwards to explore Sumatra and Indonesia.

We are happy to arrange to take you on day activities (at your own cost) around Bukit Lawang, Batu Kapal, Batu Katak and Tangkahan on weekends or after your volunteering placement has finished at our special volunteer prices and you can also visit Lake Toba and Berestagi (volcano lands).

Choose from any of the optional activities below

1. ½ day, 1 day, 2 and 3 day jungle treks to Adi Back camp and Batu Gajah camp in the national park (POA).

2. Hot springs day trip by 4wd including lunch ($120pp min 2)

3. Nature and wildlife walk (3 hours) to look for birds, animals, monkeys and orangutans in the trees along the Landak River ($55 pp).

4. 3 hour motor bike tour of the villages and rice fields, visit cottage industries, rice hulling and drying, palm sugar, tofu, bamboo weaving (price $55 pp).

5. Traditional massage ($20 pp).

6. Rock scrambling open caving adventure at Bat Cave. ( 2-3 hours. $45 pp).

7. Relaxing, swimming and exploring the Landak River (Free)

8. Optional Jungle art. Get your inspiration from the jungle, drawing landscapes, mountains, river, animals, jungle scenery. Pencils and art paper provided (Free)

9. River stone sculptures. Stacking and making pebble towers along side the river (Free)

10. Learn some Indonesian language with our team (Free)

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We are looking for volunteers that are passionate about wildlife conservation, have an upbeat, positive attitude and committed to achieving our project goals. Tasks are not particularly physically strenuous, however a fair level of fitness is advised as the climate is hot and humid. Our volunteers are highly motivated and keen to work independently or as part of a small volunteer team.
Your personal motivation and drive will be the key to your success and enjoyment at our conservation project.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 - 17:00

What's Included

Services by Batu Kapal Conservation

Includes shared dormitory accommodation, three meals per day, tea, coffee and drinking water at the project site and all programmed volunteer activities at the project site. 


Please ensure you have travel insurance to cover injury, accident, sickness, hospital and medical expenses, missed flights, cancellation and loss or damage to your personal belongings.


Please note if you plans change your volunteer fees are non refundable, however we are more than happy to change your start date. Please ensure you have travel insurance to cover cancellation.


Safety of our volunteers, guests and staff is our highest priority. Please respect each other and others property. Any person causing serious harm or putting others at risk will be asked to leave the site with forfeiture of your volunteer fees. This includes drunk and disorderly behaviour.


Drug use in Indonesia is illegal and a jailable offence. For everyone’s safety, we are a drug free program. Please note the use of drugs will result in the immediate termination of your volunteering placement and removal from the program with forfeiture of your volunteer fees.


We are responsible for the safety of volunteers and staff in our care. Please respect local culture and staff. Relationships with staff and local people will not be tolerated during your volunteer placement,  resulting in immediate termination of your volunteering placement and removal from your site with forfeiture of your volunteer fees.


Volunteers are responsible for the safety of their valuables and personal items at all times.  Management will not be held responsible for the safety of volunteers valuables. If you are concerned, please bring a money belt for your money, passport and important documents.


Please note we do not have WiFi on site as we are in a remote area. There is limited patchy mobile phone coverage available on parts of the base with the local mobile phone service. Data for Indonesian sim cards can be purchased for your phone and very affordable rates.  We recommend volunteers buy a local SIM card with data on it when they arrive. Telkomsel is one of the better choices. 

Otherwise there is WiFi available in the village at some guest house cafes also. It is a 45 minute walk into the village, or a 20 minute motor bike ride

Airport Pickup at Kuala Namu International Airport

We provide pick up and drop back to Medan airport or your Medan hotel on arrival and departure

This is a private car transfer to the nearest village and then a motor bike taxi into the project base as we are located in the jungle with no road access


Accommodation during your time will be tree house style dormitory accommodation and shared bathroom with cold water shower and a western-style toilet. Please don’t worry about being too cold in the shower - as it is hot and humid here all year round, you will probably welcome the respite!

We provide a mattress for your stay. You will need to bring along a light sleeping bag or sleeping bagliner/sleeping sheet, mosquito net, a pillow and your towel and toiletries.

You can also hire a mosquito net, pillow and sleeping sheet for $10US if you do not have these items with you.

Please note, volunteers (eg couples and families) may be able to upgrade to a private guesthouse room with ensuite, for an additional $35 US per night subject to availability. This is a requirement for families travelling with children.

Please note this $35 US private room fee per night is in addition to your daily volunteer fee.

There is no mains electricity in the jungle at Batu Kapal, we have a generator which operates for 2 to 3 hours a day in the evenings.

Food & Beverages

You will have three meals per day provided for you whilst on this project. Breakfast is usually a choice of pancake, omelette, eggs and rice/noodle dishes or fresh fruit. Lunches and dinners are delicious and typically consist of noodles or rice with either chicken, fish, egg and vegetables. Tofu and Soy bean dishes are also provided for vegetarians and vegans. Each meal is buffet style. Free tea, coffee and water.

Soft drink and alcohol is available at an extra cost.

Please note there is no refrigeration on site or at any guest houses in the local area. All food is bought fresh daily to be cooked every day.  This is normal practice in rural areas in Sumatra.

Water is also boiled on site for your safety every day.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) in Kuala Namu. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonesia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonesia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Volunteers are welcome to join are program throughout the year at times that suit you!

You can arrive at Batu Kapal base camp on Sunday through to Friday between 8am and 8pm. Please note there is no check in on Saturdays. If you arrive at the airport on Saturday, we suggest you stay Saturday night in Bukit Lawang the closest village and arrive at the project site on Sunday.

Prior to Arrival

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Indonesia. Entry to Indonesia will be refused and airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than six months validity. You are required to retain your arrival card for presentation to Immigration upon your departure.

You need to fly into Medan airport (KNO)  on on the project start date, preferably between 9am - 5pm so you are not arriving too late at the project site, as we are 4 to 5 hours from the airport. 

Please check with your doctor regarding the latest on the vaccinations required to travel to Sumatra.

In order to join this project you will need a visa. Please contact us for assistance with your visa if required

Less that 60 day stays – 30 Day Visa on Arrival

On entry to Indonesia most nationalities are eligible for the 30 day Visa on Arrival  (cost $35 US) for stays less than 30 days. This can be extended once for an additional 30 days at the local immigration office 7 days before your visa expiry date ($35 US for 30 day extension). 

Please ensure your country/nationality is eligible for the 30 day Visa on Arrival before you fly, by checking the Indonesian embassy website to obtain the latest visa and  passport information.

At immigration point, they may ask to see your return flight information to you are leaving within 30/60 days

Over 60 day stays – Apply for a 60 day visa before your arrive.

For stays over 60 days you will need to apply for a 60 day visa  2 to 4 weeks before you arrive in Indonesia.  


Please ensure you have travel insurance to cover injury, accident, sickness, hospital and medical expenses, missed flights, cancellation and loss or damage to your personal belongings.


Please note if you plans change your volunteer fees are non refundable, however we are more than happy to change your start date. Please ensure you have travel insurance to cover cancellation.

Note the conservation project site is located in the jungle, we are not situated on a road, its a 20 minute motor bike taxi ride from the village of Bukit Lawang and it is not easy to find as it is not sign posted.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$363 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Batu Kapal Conservation will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Batu Kapal Conservation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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All program fees are charged directly by Batu Kapal Conservation.

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Orangutan And Wildlife Conservation

Join us on a 1 - 8 week jungle adventure to help protect the habitat of the endangered wild Sumatran Orang-Utan and other animals in one of the worlds oldest rainforests!


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