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Made for Meaningful Travel

Your Extra Layer of Security

Sumatra Rainforest Institute

Wildlife Rescue and Care

Asia South-Eastern Asia Indonesia Panyabungan - Batang Gadis National Park

Use your skills to help animals & assist with wildlife rescues, health care and wildlife keeping at SRI's Wildlife Centre in North Sumatra!

About WRU

As the loss of habitat has seen increasing rates of human-wildlife, the environment and it's animals are in danger.

Therefor the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) currently has two projects:

  • Pusat Transit Satwa (PTS) - Wildlife Centre: Provides short term quarantine, ongoing healthcare, behaviour monitoring & "beginner" socialisation for rescued wildlife. The most common inhabitant of the PTS is the Sumatran gibbon species.
  • Sumatran Wildlife Action Team (SWAT): This team consists of a Biodiversity Protection Coordinator, Wildlife Officer, Forest Protection Officer, Conservation Specialist, Wildlife Keeper & Wildlife Rescue Vet (contracted). Other SRI staff are also trained for wildlife rescues. This team is responsible for caring for wildlife at the PTS, assisting the BBKSDA in illegal pet confiscations, investigating illegal activities in the community to do with wildlife, human wildlife conflict mitigation, community awareness & education.

About the Program

This volunteer position is part of the Sumatran Rainforest Institute's (SRI) Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU). This unit is dedicated to rescuing all wildlife, including Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran gibbon, Sumatran tiger, leopard, sun bear, gibbon species, crocodile, and other protected species in the hope of releasing them back to the wild.

The Loss of habitat has seen increasing rates of human-wildlife conflict in and around the national park buffer zones. This conflict, in conjunction with a growing demand for rare animal parts and pets has seen further pressure on endangered populations. The WRU seeks to mediate instances of human wildlife conflict through education about using deterrents rather than hurting or killing the animal. This education also aims to raise awareness about the importance of sharing the forest resources with wildlife (where reasonable). 

In instances where it is deemed necessary, WRU will safely remove the animal with the aim of relocating to a more suitable natural habitat. WRU combat illegal poaching by assisting in the confiscation of rare and endangered animals from poachers and illegal pet owners. Most pet confiscations are endangered species of gibbons or Sumatran orangutan. WRU also assists with injured wildlife. Village heads have been informed in community meetings and posters have been provided to the villages around protected areas that provide an emergency phone number for community to call in case of wildlife injury or conflict.

Your tasks as a volunteer

SRI seeks an experienced wildlife carer, zoo keeper, veterinarian or veterinarian nurse. The volunteer must be able to handle working in a hot and humid environment - it makes the cold showers way more enjoyable! You will be working with the animals and their enclosures, in the back office of SRI as well as out in the field, where an occasional rescue can take place. 

Working with SRI in wildlife rescue is a great experience for wildlife specialists who want to broaden their experiences and handle endangered wildlife of the Sumatran jungle.

Please note

In order to be accepted as a volunteer in the WRU, the volunteer must not have Hepatitis C, typhoid, typhus, active tuberculosis, dengue or any form of malaria. It is also important not be sick with the flu or other contagious disease. This is because most of the wildlife in the transit centre are primates and will easily get transmittable human diseases. Thank you for your understanding.

Suitable for


Typical day

At 8 AM the volunteer will go to the office to assist with Sumatran gibbon care (and other rescued wildlife) including 
  • feeding
  • enclosure cleaning
  • compost maintenance
  • enclosure maintenance
  • behaviour monitoring
  • playing with babies (depending on length of stay and health). 
Feeding is three times a day at 8 AM, 12 PM and 5 PM. Reporting of the activities and behaviour will need to occur. 

Back in the office, project proposals, grant applications and networking with potential donors/partners will be required. Each volunteer will be involved in staff think tank about how SRI can do more to assist the rescued wildlife and reduce the destruction of their habitat.
Occasionally, a rescue will take place and the volunteer will be asked to assist with their skills in the field.

Trips to nearby villages are sometimes required for habitat monitoring, community awareness or human-wildlife conflict mitigation. These trips can be up to 3 hours driving. On occasion rescues or other missions are required in locations further away. Overnight stays in the villages are sometimes necessary for the members of the Wildlife Rescue Team.

Program Requirements

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
Required Documents
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
- Experience in wildlife keeping or qualification as veterinarian or veterinarian nurse.
- Students in relevant fields can also apply.
- Strong interpersonal skills are also required
- Patience
- Beeing able to live with limited services as you stay at a remote location.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 17:00

Any questions? Just ask. We at Sumatra Rainforest Institute are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

The surrounding jungle in Batang Gadis National Park provides for activities such as hiking , short walks along village paths, bird watching, photography and swimming in creeks. There are also many waterfalls and hotsprings in the surrounding areas closer to Mount Sorik Merapi (volcano). 

SRI will be able to pick up the volunteer and bring them back to Panyabungan City for the weekend. The weekend period for the village based Agroforestry volunteer is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The volunteer might also be interested in visiting Bukittinggi (West Sumatra), the islands near Padang (west Sumatra), Bukit Lawang to see the wild orangutan or Lake Toba before or after the assignment is finished.


Included Services

What's included?
The fees include accomodation and airport pick up.
Airport Pickup at Aek Godang

Our staff will pick up the volunteer from Aek Godang Airport (AEG) near Padangsidimpuan or Dr Ferdinand Lumban Tobing Airport (FLZ) in Pinangsori. Both airports are in North Sumatra province with flights from Medan. The Pinangsori airport (FLZ) also has flights from Jakarta. Car hire and transport is available from Padang but will need to be covered by the volunteer (8 hour drive to Panyabungan).
SRI will also provide transport to and from the project site from Panyabungan. The base for the assignment is in Panyabungan where SRI's office is.


The volunteer will stay as a guest in homestay accommodation with a private bedroom.
Please note: Sometimes overnight stays in the villages are required. In these cases the volunteer will stay with other members of the SRI team in a local family's house, sharing the space with other team members and the family. Meals will be provided in these cases.

Dorm Room Guest Family Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
3 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
11 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Panyabungan - Batang Gadis National Park/Indonesia between 3 weeks and 11 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Sumatra Rainforest Institute 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 Sumatra Rainforest Institute during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Indonesia

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Indonesia. Please check the visa regulations for Indonesia.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Indonesia and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Indonesia.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Indonesia.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Aek Godang (AEG) in Aek Godang. 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.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonesia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonesia.
What can you do in leisure-time in Indonesia while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Panyabungan, Panyabungan - Batang Gadis National Park, Indonesia

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