Join us on a 4-6-week jungle adventure to help protect the endangered Orang-Utan in one of the oldest and most beautiful rainforests in the world.
About the Project
Our orangutan reintroduction project is in a remote location in the centre of Indonesian Borneo, in a designated release area covering 35,000 hectares of primary protected lowland rainforest and with several hundred thousand hectares of upland rainforest surrounding this inland from the rivers which are the only access. The area is known as the Kehje Sewen with our camp Lasik. We obtained permission to use this area in late 2011 and have since reintroduced 15 wild-rescued orangutans with 8 more to be released in July; followed in September with the planned release of 8 ex-captive rehabilitant orangutans – the first of 250 we hope to release in this forest. These are orangutans you may have seen featured on Orangutan Island (Animal Planet) or Orangutan Diary (BBC). Most of these orangutans were taken from the wild when they were very small, so they have to learn all the skills they will need to survive in the wild, and some of them may not be able to adapt.
Day 1- Day 4: Intro Days
The first days will be spent in Balikpapan. On your arrival at Balikpapan airport, you will meet your expedition leaders and the rest of your team, have time to acclimatise to your new surroundings and beautiful new culture. After a good night’s rest it’s time to start your Jungle Survival Training! You will receive an important safety briefing and introduction to the program. The topics include jungle survival, first aid, navigation and evacuation scenarios. Mandatory for all jungle expeditions this is the opportunity to prove that you’re tough enough to survive the remote wilderness that awaits. Schedule includes:
Then the 2-day journey deep into the jungle begins! Overnight will be spent in a rural village, before arriving at Camp Lasik. Means of transportation include 4x4, boat and even a zipline to cross a river to the camp! All travel is variable depending on water conditions, if necessary we may overnight at various points on this route.
Weeks 2-4: Camp Lasik
You can finally start working and applying what you have learnt in the introduction! Your role as a volunteer is to help our monitoring research team with a number of physically challenging projects:
You also learn about conservation in action. You will visit the low land orang-utan clinic to learn about orang-utans, their habitat and the threat from humans. You will also learn in more detail about your project that lies ahead! Working with the New Orangutan Rehabilitation Project, we head deep into the jungle to help construct rope bridges, hides and viewing structures. Location for BBC TV series "Orangutan Diary", we also trek into the jungle to track released orangutans.
Weeks 4-6: Camp Nlis Mamsi
As for Trekking, the area is amazing! There are no villages beyond us, the river heads up into the mountains which is an area of waterfalls, cliffs and caves, and the local villagers have a number of routes up to their caves and up and over the mountains down to ‘neighbouring’ villages in East Kalimantan.
To reward you for your hard work (and to REALLY test your survival skills) you’ll head off on a 5-10 day trek into the unexplored Borneo jungle to head to another camp called Nlis Mamsi. You’ll see incredible creatures, stunning views, be swinging through the trees, jumping into plunge pools and clambering through undergrowth. The volunteer work you will be doing at the second camp will be similar to the work done at camp Lasik. For the 4-week participants, this will be the end of their fantastic adventure and will be brought back to Balikpapan.
As the tasks at the camp vary all year round, there is no such thing as a "typical day" for our volunteers. The tasks you will take part in during your stay are rope bridge construction, construction and maintaining of hides and lookouts and information posts. You will also assist the team with their monitoring efforts and get the possibility to track orangutans that have already been released back into the wild. If possible, you can also help with the release of orangutans.
Volunteering and activities do certainly mix on this trip, as the biologists, vetenarians and our volunteers will be involved around the clock. Having lived so close to the orangutans for over a month, the trek provides an even deeper insight into flora and fauna and the life of different tribes in some of the remotest parts in the world.
Airport pick-up in Balikpapan
During your Jungle Training you will be staying in lodges with dorm rooms and shared bathrooms. During your travel upriver, project work and trekking it will be back to nature, staying in jungle camps, sleeping in hammocks and enjoying the untouched jungle around you!
Basic and nutritious, lots of rice and vegetables with occasional meat (fish, chicken, boar). In the jungle you will typically live off a Basic Army Ration Diet:
Lunch: Crackers, Tuna & Peanut butter
Dinner: Vegetable curry & rice/noodles
Plus drinks, snacks and additional local food collected from the jungle including bamboo, river fern & katkong and local fruit like buapua, lansat, jackfruit and durian