Trip reference number: Samboja Lestari Orangutan Volunteer Project

Trip Operator: The Great Projects

Orangutan and Sun Bear Conservation in East Kalimantan

From: £895.00

Established by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS), the Samboja Lestari area provides a safe haven for rescued orangutan and sun bears. The area is a restored tropical rainforest that houses the 2,000-hectare sanctuary.

Forest Schools, or rather educational playgrounds, have been built here to provide orangutans with the opportunity to learn natural behaviours and the necessary forest skills to survive in the wild. The sanctuary is also home to Orangutan Islands that replicate their wild surrounding, allowing the great apes that cannot be released due to injury or disabilities to lead a completely natural life. These islands are also perfect for preparing orangutans for their release into the wild, giving them the chance to practice the skills they gained in Forest School!

As a volunteer, you’ll help to rehabilitate these incredible great apes and the beautiful sun bears by creating enrichment, helping with husbandry and assisting with the upkeep of the sanctuary. Thanks to this project, many orangutans have been released back into the wild and with a million trees planted in the surrounding area, many species of birds and primates have returned to their natural homes! 



As a volunteer, you’ll help to collect vital data on the orangutans through observation. Volunteers will jump aboard the small boat and complete a circuit of the islands. While gently cruising along, you’ll take notes on the behaviour, health and general well-being of the orangutans.


Creating enrichment is an extremely important part of volunteering on this project. Helping to stimulate and benefit the orangutans and sun bears residing at the sanctuary. Creativity is encouraged so if you have any fun ideas for enrichment items that the great apes might enjoy make sure to put it forward!


Like permanent members of staff, you’ll be involved in animal husbandry, helping to feed and clean orangutan enclosures and the ‘food store’, where the orangutan and sun bear food is kept and prepared. Volunteers also take part in leaf collection, regularly trekking into the jungle and collecting leaves which the orangutans use to build their nests. 

Working with the Sun Bears

There are around 50 sun bears that call the sanctuary home! Volunteers are able to work with the sun bears during there time at the sanctuary, helping with food preparation, feeding them, creating enrichment and maintaining their enclosures. 

Construction and Maintenance 

Volunteers will help with the construction and maintenance of platforms on the orangutan islands and will help to upkeep the enclosures of the animals residing at the sanctuary. Even the rainforest environment needs maintaining! There is always work to be done on the sanctuary grounds!

Canopy Walk

As a volunteer, you’ll be giving the exciting opportunity to walk high up in the forest canopy taking in the sights of all the local fauna and flora! If you’re lucky, you might just spot a pair of singing gibbons! 

River Cruise

Volunteers will spend an afternoon relaxing on the black river! You’ll board a local boat and cruise along the winding river in search of endangered proboscis monkeys. As well as witnessing all the other local wildlife. You’ll also travel through a local fishing village before watching the sunset over the sea!



This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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