While your primate conservation efforts might take you to many countries across the world, orangutans are only found in Borneo and Sumatra. Even though these primates only exist on these two islands, they are nevertheless faced with the danger of becoming extinct. In turn, your help as an orangutan conservation volunteer is very much required if you care about the wellbeing and survival of these primates. In case you would like to learn more about what threats orangutans face, we ask that you please read on. In the following sections, you will also be able to find out what your orangutan conservation voluntary work is likely going to entail. Consider these useful tips if you would are serious about becoming an orangutan conservation volunteer abroad.
Why does orangutan conservation matter?
Although you might be thinking that orangutan conservation voluntary work could be a great opportunity for personal growth, it is so much more than that. There are several orangutan conservation programs on the islands of both Sumatra and Borneo since orangutans are facing severe threats. As of 2016, estimates states that there are only about 45,000 wild orangutans left. Merely a decade ago, that number was said to be more than 60,000. Hence, this is causing experts to be concerned.
Some even believe that it will only be a matter of time until orangutans become extinct – unless we do something now to stop this from happening! Some prognoses suggest that it is only going to be 25 more years until there are no wild orangutans left. Hence, you are urgently needed as an orangutan conservation volunteer. The more people that get involved in orangutan conservation, the better the chances of saving these primates. In particular, these are the threats to orangutans that you will be asked to fight or counteract as an orangutan conservation volunteer abroad:
- Deforestation that results in a loss of natural orangutan habitats
- Illegal, unregulated hunting
- Palm oil plantations
- Illegal trade of orangutans as pets
- Climate change/ global warming
Within the last two decades alone, orangutans are said to have lost more than 80% of their natural habitats already. If we do not stop this process, the rapid loss of rain forests is going to continue, which is going to cause orangutans to become extinct. Thus, the time to act and become an orangutan conservation volunteer abroad is now! In fact, you might not even get to do any orangutan conservation voluntary work at all if you wait too long. One day, there simply will not be any orangutans left if the above mentioned threats to these majestic primates are not addressed as soon as possible.
What can I do as a orangutan conservation volunteer?
While volunteering at an orangutan conservation program might seem like a daunting task at first, this does not have to be so. Volunteering in orangutan conservation can mean a lot of things. Most likely, some office work will be required. From preparing reports, which are needed when applying for grants or other funds, to data-entry tasks, calling donors or writing blog articles, your orangutan conservation program is likely going to need you in this capacity as well. Moreover, most orangutan conservation programs will allow you to do hands-on orangutan work. From caring for orphaned to sick animals, you will be able to interact with orangutans up-close and personal. Feeding primates, helping administer vet treatments or cleaning their cages might thus be part of your job description, too. In addition, you might be asked to help with fundraising, web development, marketing, bookkeeping and the like depending on your individual skill set. From monitoring the local orangutan population to finding a new home for these primates, you will not get bored as an orangutan conservation volunteer anytime soon.
No matter which country you choose, you should be prepared to complete whatever tasks are required to promote the cause. Some orangutan conservation programs also allow visitors to attend classes. In turn, you might even be asked to become an educator yourself and host some of these orangutan conservation classes. Experience has shown that educating both the local population and tourists about the dangers that orangutans are facing is incredibly important when trying to save these monkeys. Once you have been at your orangutan conservation program for a while, you might even become a contact for incoming volunteers and might be tasked with helping them settle in. In general, you will be asked to take on more and more responsibility along the way.
Why is becoming a orangutan conservation volunteer a great idea?
Most orangutan conservation programs are desperately looking for volunteers. Hence, you can be sure that your help as an orangutan conservation volunteer is definitely needed and you will be doing something worthwhile. After all, becoming an orangutan conservation volunteer abroad means that you will be doing your part to prevent an entire species from becoming extinct. This is also a great way of living out your love for primates and preparing for a career in zoology or as a vet. At an orangutan conservation program, you can gain hands-on experience that will look great on your CV. When applying for scholarships, grants, internships or a job, this kind of experience might make you stand out from the competition and could even help you get into the college of your dreams. As an orangutan conservation volunteer, you will moreover be working for a cause that is much bigger than yourself. This will make your time abroad an incredibly rewarding experience in and of itself.
You will definitely make lasting memories that you will not forget anytime soon. Getting up close and personal with orangutans is something that most people will never get to do. Hence, you should consider yourself as one of the lucky ones if you get to spend a lot of time with orangutans as a volunteer. At the same time, you will also benefit from living abroad and immersing yourself in a foreign culture. Apart from the different foods and the foreign language that you will be surrounded by, becoming an orangutan conservation volunteer will likely cause you to become a more open-minded, mature person. Sharing your passion for orangutans with your fellow volunteers will not just be rewarding, but will make for a unique bond between you, too. You might even walk away from your time as a volunteer abroad with a new set of friends who really get you and might be some of your best friends ever. So why not try something new and do your part to save orangutans at the same time?