Volunteer Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary
Volunteer to help save the wildlife of Asia. The volunteer Indonesian Wildlife Rescue Centre and Sanctuary is located in exotic Sulawesi Island.
The project is a rescue, rehabilitation and release centre for animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade. The sanctuary plays an important role in Indonesian wildlife conservation.
Globalteer is UK registered charity providing volunteer placements working in Wildlife Rescue and Conservation in Asia
Sulawesi Island remains the jumping off point for illegal shipments of animals for the exotic pet and ‘medicinal’ markets in Asia as well as having a thriving local bush meat industry.
Sulawesi, being the closest Indonesian island to the Philippines, is being used as a consolidation point for illegal shipments of wildlife and wildlife products from Java, Sumatra, Borneo and the islands in the Eastern part of the Indonesian archipelago, especially Papua.
Orangutans, Malaysian sun bears, gibbons, tarsiers, lorises and pangolins are some of the most endangered mammals smuggled out of the country. However, cockatoos, hornbills, birds of paradise as well as turtles and other reptiles are being smuggled out in even larger quantities.
Without a sustainable rescue facility the authorities are not able to enforce, raid and confiscate live animals as there are few existing transition projects.
Many animals arrive in a stressed and neglected state and need a period of rehabilitation and veterinary care to bring them back to health. Unfortunately some are permanently disabled, stressed or domesticated and will never recover sufficiently to live in the wild.
In addition, many of the animals rescued in Sulawesi are not native to the island and cannot safely be released to an unfamiliar habitat or impose upon local ecosystems. The Indonesia Wildlife Rescue Centre endeavours to preserve these animals dignity by creating habitats where captive animals may thrive. It is hoped that these animals may enjoy the best quality of life possible in captivity.
To find out more about wildlife conservation in Asia, visit our Volunteering with Orangutans
Duration: 2 to 8 weeks
Hours: 6 days per week
Activities: Feeding the animals, maintaining the wildlife sanctuary
Accommodation: Shared rooms
Requirements: Aged 18+, with a passion for animal welfare
Donation: From UK£660 / US$985
The Location of the Rescue Centre
Sulawesi is the third largest island in Indonesia located between Borneo and the Banda Islands, a four hour flight from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The sanctuary is located in the north of the island, a one and a half hour drive from the regional capital of Manado.
Your collection from Manado or the airport will be arranged in advance of your arrival. Two-week volunteers are asked to arrive on a Monday although flexibility is possible if no suitable flights are available. Volunteers on placements of longer than two weeks can arrive any day. Collection from Manado Airport is included in your placement fee. If you require a pick up from any other location in Manado city there is a locally payable charge of $10.
Manado is a thriving city of over half a million people and contains many of the facilities common to any urban location such as restaurants, shopping malls and cinemas.
The sanctuary itself is set in an idyllic coastal headland where forest and mangrove flourish. Volcanoes dominate the surrounding terrain while the many small fishing communities in the area allow volunteers to get a taste of traditional rural life. The sanctuary also has a long and expansive volcanic black sand beach giving opportunities for swimming, snorkelling or quiet evening walks. It is not an exaggeration to claim that the Indonesian Wildlife Rescue centre is located in an oasis of tranquillity with opportunities for lovers of nature and tropical environments.
To find out more about Indonesia, visit our Volunteering in Indonesia Fact File.
Volunteers will stay in dormitory style accommodation divided into male and female. Shared bathrooms have western style flush toilets and cold showers. There is a communal area where you can relax and watch TV and DVDs.
Indonesian meals are cooked daily by a local Chef and offer vegetarian and vegan options.
Daily schedule at the Wildlife SanctuaryVolunteers currently work a six day week. Daily working hours vary depending on the weather and the needs at the wildlife sanctuary however they are generally 8 hour working days. Volunteers are expected to make an early start along with the animals and will work independently or with local staff in a variety of different tasks.
Daily activities often include a rotation of the following:
• Cleaning a variety of enclosures.
• Refilling water containers.
• Preparing and giving food to the animals.
• Collecting grasses, seeds or leaves for the animals.
• Providing life enrichment food to stimulate animals in the form of new challenges or novel items in the enclosure.
• Maintaining and cleaning the rescue centre.
• Upgrading enclosures, maintenance of enclosures and special assignments at the direction of the manager.
An example of typical working day:
06:00 to 08:00 - Harvesting, cleaning and morning feed for the animals
08:00 to 09:00 - Breakfast
09:00 to 11:30 - Preparation and provision of enrichments, additional assignments
11:30 to 13:00 - Lunch
13:00 to 16:00 - Afternoon feed, harvesting, providing enrichments to the animals
16.00 – Finish work, time for a well earned shower and time on the beach!
18.00 – 19:00 - Dinner.
Please be aware that this is a dynamic project and this is just an example of a typical day, volunteer duties may change during their placement. Due to the tropical climate the work can be tough however most afternoons a nice coastal breeze keeps the temperature down.
Direct contact with the animals is discouraged for your safety and the safety of the animals, however, volunteers will see their hard work rewarded as animals delight in being transferred to larger enclosures or simply in passing the orangutans out on their daily walks!
Got any questions about volunteering with orangutans and wildlife in Indonesia? Try our Indonesia Wildlife Rescue Frequently Asked Questions
Meet the Rescued Wildlife
OrangutansTwo orangutans, Bento and Is, were seized from smugglers by local authorities with the assistance of the project staff. They are Bornean Orangutans intercepted on their way to the Philippines where it is thought they were destined to be exotic pets.
Orangutan release programmes in Borneo are already overwhelmed and there would have been nowhere else for these animals to go other than into the care of the sanctuary.
‘Is’ is thought to have been just one year old when rescued and was hand reared. Now about eight years old 'Is' remains one of the major personalities of the sanctuary.
'Bento' is about ten but with his slow upright walks around the enclosure he would have you believe he is an old man. The orangutan keepers are currently engaged in building the animals’ trust until such time as they will be taken out on a daily basis into the mangroves.
Volunteering with orangutans is surely one of the highlights of this project.
Sun BearsBinbin and Bonbon – The Malaysian sun bear is the smallest known bear, rarely weighing more than an adult man. Habitat loss combined with the bear’s popularity in the tourism and entertainment industry threatens the future of these amazing creatures.
Beliefs in some Asian countries that bears' organs promote strength and virility have led to disgusting practices such as bear bile farms. Binbin and Bonbon came to the rescue centre as cubs unable to look after themselves. Their large claws make them accomplished climbers and they are often seen trying to scale the fences of their enclosure!
Species at the Wildlife SanctuaryThere are many endangered species at the rescue centre, including many rare birds, primates and other wildlife. Among the mammals undergoing care at the sanctuary are orangutans, gibbons, macaques, sun bears, rusa dear, the fascinating babirusa and one of the most critically endangered primates in the world, the macaca nigra.
Over 40 macaques are in residence at the sanctuary, including the charismatic Sulawesi Macaque, which is endemic to the island.
All 5 species including the Crested Black Macaque (Macaca nigra), can be found and are currently all undergoing rehabilitation to form natural groups as they would in the wild. There are many birds which include the prehistoric cassowary, extremely rare Pesquet’s Parrot along with an assortment of exotic pigeons, birds of prey, cockatoos and several species of parrot.
There are also an assortment of reptiles which include various species of turtle and crocodiles. A rehabilitation and release program for native species is also under operation.
Extra ActivitiesThe evenings at the rescue centre are generally quiet as most volunteers relax after a long days work. Games, movies and socializing often set the tone for the night.
The local village, which sees few tourists, is well worth a visit and curious locals will seize the opportunity to practice their English and find out more about you. Volunteers sometimes take a taxi to Manado which has many restaurants, bars and shopping malls.
A weekly shopping trip gives volunteers the chance to stock up on snacks and supplies and check their email. On Sundays, volunteers are free to explore the nearby city of Bitung, surrounding national parks, trek volcanoes or take advantage of ample snorkelling and dive sites.
Volunteers can take advantage of the many tourism opportunities that Sulawesi has to offer before or after their placement. Islands, waterfalls, treks, diving, snorkelling, national parks and festivals abound.
Bunaken, an island 30km off the coast of Manado offers some of South-East Asia’s best dive sites containing steep drop-offs, caves and tunnels with a magnificent abundance of coral and fish.
Furthermore, the exotic and isolated Togean Islands are a lost tropical paradise comparable to Thailand but without the crowds. Indonesia offers a wealth of opportunities to the adventurous tourist and those wanting to stray from the beaten track.
The required donation to the placement is stated in UK £pounds and US $dollars. 8 weeks is currently the maximum stay permitted with the Indonesian tourist visa. Your donation includes
- Accommodation for the duration of your stay.
- Free airport pickup from Manado.
- Three meals a day.
- Full pre-arrival and in country support .
- Self-service laundry .
- Assistance and advice for onward travel.
- An unforgettable experience!
Your donation does not include flights, visas, or insurance although we can provide information as required.
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Application process & requirements
The minimum age for volunteering is 18 years old. No previous experience or qualifications are necessary but we do require volunteers to be respectful and open minded to the cultural differences they will encounter in Indonesia.
Volunteers must be reasonably fit as the work can be demanding in the tropical heat. You must be able to speak English. Volunteers must have a similar ideology to the mission of the wildlife sanctuary. Wildlife trainers and those who exploit wildlife for the benefit of people are not suitable for this project.
- Click on the link below to fill out an application form.
- Add "@globalteer.org" to your E-mail safe list to ensure that you receive a response.
- Your application will be reviewed and if accepted you will be notified via E-mail within one week.
- Pay your deposit to secure your placement within one week of acceptance.
- Research your destination, book your flight, inoculations and ask us any questions you may have.
- Full amount is to be paid 10 weeks before the start of your placement.
- Comprehensive information will be sent to you including a packing list, cultural differences, etiquette, rescue centre rules, useful phone contacts and full project information.