Run by: The Great Projects
Reference number: The Great Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant Projec
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As perhaps our ‘wildest’ project of all, The Great Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant Project finds itself in the midst of the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain Rainforest – or more specifically, within the WWF-protected ‘Corridor of Life’, home to some of Borneo’s most awe-inspiring wildlife.
While deforestation has destroyed much of Borneo’s natural landscape (with animal lives being stolen in the wake of the damage), this project stands as a beacon of hope for such incredible species as pygmy elephants and orangutans, and as a volunteer you will contribute to the ongoing protection of these animals within their endemic home.
During the project’s duration, you will become a guest in the small village of Sukau, living alongside the ‘Orang Sungai’ (‘People of the River’) and learning all about the indigenous community’s way of life. In return for their hospitality, you will work alongside the locals, educating them on the importance of conservation and aiding them in implementing more sustainable ways of living; the overall goal to provide a better, more harmonious future for both the humans and animals who inhabit the rainforest.
In addition to the education of locals, your main focus will be to monitor wildlife species along the Kinabatangan River, and as a volunteer, you will enjoy rainforest treks and river cruises in search of native animals. Orangutans, elephants, gibbons and more are can all be spotted in the area, and your assistance on this project will enable more animals to return in the years to come.
Boat Trips and Jungle Treks
The main focus of this project is to contribute to orangutan and elephant conservation. As a volunteer, you will take boat rides along the river in search of these animals, monitoring their numbers and helping the project team to fully understand the successes of their efforts. You’ll also be on the lookout for endemic flora and native fauna during your time trekking the rainforest!
Logging and deforestation activities have left scars on Borneo’s rainforest environment, and it’s vital that these areas are reforested if we wish for the area’s animals to survive. A major part of your time on the project will be spent planting trees: the project aims to plant thousands per year, so be prepared to get involved!
Spending Time With The ‘Orang Sungai’
You will spend time working alongside the local community, living alongside them on the riverbank and teaching them about the value of conservation, both for the benefit of themselves and for their animal neighbours.
Work With The Local School Children
As well as working to educate the local community, you may also have the chance to visit the local school, spending time with school children and educating them on the importance of conservation and environmental stability – after all, these children are the future of the community, so it is vital that their grasp on these topics remains strong as they continue to grow!
Visit To Sepilok Orangutan Centre
Towards the end of your time on the project, you’ll pay a visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This can be something of a grounding experience, as you’ll witness captive orangutans in the earlier stages of their rehabilitation. Moving as this trip may be, it will of course emphasise the need for projects like this one – without an environment in which to thrive, species such as orangutans are at great risk of falling victim to the pet trade, or may succumb to the effects of a damaged habitat.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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