Why did you decide to volunteer with Travellers Worldwide in Malaysia?
Loretta: I was really keen to work with orangutans and after much research the only company I could find which allowed me to be hands-on with the orangutans was Travellers Worldwide. It was a perfect duration for me, allowing me to go off travelling independently after the project. The variety of activities during the voluntary placement and the trips offered during my days off from volunteering was excellent. It was my first time out of europe and so going with a company made me feel less nervous.
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Loretta: The placement consisted of 4 separate sections which we worked on for 9 consecutive days after which we had a break of around 3-4 days between working on each section. The four sections included working in the nursery with the orphaned baby orangutans; feeding them, cleaning their cages, taking them out to play on the ropes and giving them baths. The second section was the next stage of the rehabilitation process for the orangutans; individuals were moved into the rainforest and we walked everyday into the rainforest to different platforms to give the orangutans their food and visited the platform opened to tourists. The third section was trekking through the rainforest putting out small mammal traps and recording and observing orangutans in their natural environment. During this section we also went on a night hike, seeing flying squirrels which was awesome! Fourthly, in our working group we stayed in a flat in a small town and travelled into the Rasa Ria nature reserve where we cleaned animals cages, provided them with enrichment and took them into the forest area. During our days off we had a wealth of experiences, from climbing Mount Kinabalu to snorkeling and diving at Sipadan Island.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Loretta: I learnt a lot volunteering in Borneo, my confidence and communication skills improved and I learnt a lot about myself. Most importantly it made me realize how much I wanted a career associated with animals and conservation in the future and inspired me to study Animal Behavior at university. This volunteering placement definitely helped me to get onto the course, and now in my third year and looking into jobs I fully appreciate that to say I have been involved in a project like this definitely sets me apart from others and will give me something to talk about in my applications and interviews!