Starting from
$840

Orangutan & Wildlife Rescue Volunteer Project, Java

Highlights

  • Yogyakarta is the cultural capital of Java and there are plenty of things to see and do on your days off
  • Join a range of traditional and local cultural experiences including gamelan lessons and batik lesson
  • Become personally acquainted with the 7 orangutans currently living at the Centre
Location
Java
Indonesia
Length
1 to 12 weeks
Housing
  • Hostel

About

Volunteer with Orangutans, gibbons, a baby Sun Bear, Crocodiles and various birds. This centre near the city of Yogyakarta is making good strides towards helping the animals brought into the centre.

Java is the main gateway for wild animals being smuggled illegally from the islands of Borneo and then shipped off alive and dead around the world. The centre works closely with the government and royal family to help confiscate wild animals smuggled in from Borneo and other forests.

The aim of the centre is to rehabilitate the animals and help release them back to the wild.

VOLUNTEER WORK: Provide care for orangutans and other orphaned and injured wild animals who are preparing for rehabilitation and eventual release back to the wild.

Price Details
INCLUDED: Return airport pickup from Yogyakarta International Airport (JOG), Meals and snacks, Accommodation, All activities as per itinerary, Accident Insurance, English-speaking program facilitator, Donation to the project (your fee supports the Centre’s operational costs such as animal food, equipment, staff salaries etc).

NOT INCLUDED: International and internal airfare, Visa application/fees, Private transfers, Meals and accommodation when traveling independently, Insurance and luxuries.

Price Calculator

Start Dates

Starts every Monday! Arrivals are Monday, Departures are on Sundays. The volunteering activities run from morning until evening with a lunch break in between. For volunteers staying longer than one week, Sundays are usually free days.

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    93%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    93%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (23)

Default avatar
Cindy
Female
44 years old
Feilding NZ

I didn't want to leave my Indonesian family

10/10

My first ever experience at volunteering and I was so nervous. I wasn't to sure what to expect before I left. I had read all the information, twice or more. Fortunately there was full contact with the volunteer coordinator at WRC and all my odd questions were answered. On arrival all my fears disappeared as I was introduced to my new family and shown all I needed to know. I really felt welcome and loved/appreciated. The excitement I felt the following morning waking in a jungle to gibbons calling but still having those essential creature comforts. I was only able to stay 2 weeks and time flew by so fast. All I want to do now is return and give all my babies that I looked after big cuddles. Once a volunteer always a volunteer. Thank you WRC for letting me have this amazing experience.

How can this program be improved?

I wouldn't change a thing.

Courtney
Female
26 years old
Newark, New Jersey

Interesting experience

9/10

I had the chance to actually get to know one of the keepers quite personally. He shared stories of his hardships and family. It allowed me to understand how difficult life can be for a Javan native and the fear of their own children never moving beyond the village they are born in. Although poverty stands out, the richness of the land, its animals and its culture stands out.
I had the chance to get close to Dwi, a former animal vet at the sanctuary, and she told me of her dreams to leave the island and do something more. I even experienced a wedding party and was amazed how people with little can give so much and feed a village as a blessing for their wedding day. I dont have just one story, I have a collection of events that shaped my thinking. Today, Parjono, lives ten minutes away from me married to a former volunteer and so a piece of Indonesia will always be here with me in America.

How can this program be improved?

I think it would be nice to have had more time to socialize with the Indonesian employees to get to know them more.

James
Male
26 years old
Clarendon, Queensland, Australia

Experience of a lifetime

9/10

Was just overwhelmed from the start with how friendly and helpful the locals and staff at the centre were with assistance from getting in out of Jogjakarta and driving us to Mount Merapi, plus everything in between. Would definitely recommend this program if you are after a social immersersion experience aswell as working with a wide range of animals including Orangutans, Sun Bears, Eagles, Slow Lorris and many more.

How can this program be improved?

Comfier beds and cushions for social area.

Default avatar
Sarah
Female
39 years old
Donald, Victoria, Australia
Other

My WRC Adventure

9/10

I could write an essay about my experiences but I wont. I have had a brilliant 2 weeks working with the Animal Keepers and Vet. The keepers are very patient and try hard to communicate in English. Accomodation and food is good and you definitely won't go hungry. I was a bit shocked that there were air cons in each room.

The staff, keepers and volunteer coordinators truly care for the animals wellbeing here.

I was lucky enough to help work on the baby sun-bears indoor enclosure and see her transition to this bigger cage.

The volunteer coordinator is very helpful, especially weekend day trips and transport. Seeing I was at WRC by myself for the first week this was very helpful and reassuring.

I actually wish I was staying an extra week. You definitely need to stay more than one week as you really get the hang of things.

How can this program be improved?

Just remember there is a lot of cleaning and mosquitoes so cover up. I found long sleeves and long pants.

Default avatar
Gracie
Female
29 years old
Bedfordshire, England
Other

2 weeks at the wildlife centre Jogja

10/10

I volunteered at the wildlife centre Joga for two week in January and it has been an amazing to work with the staff and meet and learn about all the incredible animals they have here. The mornings here start with a wake up call from the gibbons, macaques,orangutans and birds- what better way to start the day! The animal keepers are very welcoming and have answered any questions I have had about the centre, Java and most importantly the animals themselves, this is also true of the project co-ordination Renea who has made me feel extremely welcome as well as being a great source of knowledge about the culture,traditions and language of Java and Indonesia.
You are provided with everything you need at the centre good accommodation, amazing food, great company and incredible animals, the local people are very friendly and accomdating and I settled into the way of life with ease.

They have over 150 animals at the centre and I loved meeting all of them, but my favorites were defintely the orangutans they are just incredible animals and are cared for very well at the centre. Enrichment for the animals is also a large and very rewarding part for the programme, stuffed bottles, bamboo fruits parcels and frozen treats are but a few of the food enrichment treats we gave to the animals, frozen treats being a particular favorite of hot and humid days.
I would definitely recommend the programme to anyone who loves animals, wants to learn and try something a bit different. My experience here has been one the most rewarding trips I have ever had and provided me with more confidence and experience to continue my studies and career in working with animals.

How can this program be improved?

The one thing I would change is to get the sunbears enclosure built so he had more room and the orangutans enclosure expanded so they could be separated.

Default avatar
Jess
Female
40 years old
New York, NY

Everyone should volunteer here!

10/10

I volunteered at the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Jogja through the Ecoteer program. I originally chose this program because of the comfort level that I felt in with all my correspondence with the Ecoteer staff and founder Dan Quilter. However, I went back for a second stay because of how wonderful my experience was. I was drawn to the Centre by the animals, but I found that the staff and locals were the ones that made the most impact on my experience. The Centre is very beautiful with many surprise amenities, such as air conditioning in the rooms, wifi on site, and a private local chief to make all the meals for the volunteers. Each morning is spent with a different animal keeper, where you act as their assistant while they care for their specific animals. The afternoons were for “special assignments”, which could consist of animal enrichment activities, building nests, assisting the onsite Veterinarian, and other necessary daily tasks for the well-being of the animals. After the work day is finished, the volunteer coordinator has cultural activities set up for each evening. During my stay there was the option to learn to play Gamelan (Music of Indonesia), visit a local animal release site, kids club with local school children, teaching English to local adults, and participate in a batik arts class. The volunteers have the weekends off so they can explore the local area. The volunteer coordinator will also set up a local driver for you to go wherever you desire, at a very fair and low price. Over all, the energy at the Centre is tranquil, welcoming, and secure. All of the staff are so friendly, easy going, and happy to assist with any needs you may have. And my favorite is that there are constant sounds from animals that became like a harmonious song always playing in the background. If you decide to volunteer at the Animal Rescue Centre in Jogja… be prepared to work, be prepared to learn, and be prepared to leave a better person.

Default avatar
Helen
Female
London, England

An incredible two months

10/10

I stayed at WRC for two months in May-July 2015 and I can't recommend it highly enough.

The staff and the greater community are incredibly welcoming; they both taught me Indonesian words and made me the most delicious food. Joining in the kids' club and community English sessions was a great chance to experience the local culture, and the staff from WRC were great at showing volunteers around and helping us see some of Jogja's hidden gems.

Small volunteer groups means you really get to interact with the animals and actually feel like you're making a contribution to the centre.

I loved everything about my stay and will definitely be back.

How can this program be improved?

Volunteers should definitely be made aware that this is a wildlife centre, not just an orangutan centre. There are currently only 7 orangutans in almost 200 animals.

The centre is doing everything it can to raise much-needed funds - it will be great to see bigger enclosures and more facilities in the future.

Default avatar
Lusi
Female
24 years old
London

Jogja week

10/10

This volunteer program was a great way to see Jogja, spend time with locals and work with wildlife. Spent lots of time with locals and learning bits of Indonesian, overall it was a really well organized experience.

How can this program be improved?

It should be advertised more accuratly, as a wildlife rescue centre not just orangutans and also as a local culture experience.

Default avatar
Phil
Male
32 years old
Manchester England

Phil Shove

8/10

Highly capable animal keepers . Lots of animals in need of care. Your involved daily with the enclosure cleaning, feeding and enrichment of the animals you're responsible for on that given day - one day you'll be birds, orangutan etc.

What this place needs is financial backing. This place has taken on that many animals in need there isn't enough enclosures to suit each amimals natural habitat.

More help is needed to acquire release sites. This place does a great job but could be making an exceptional difference given the funding.

How can this program be improved?

The live feeds but that's not feasible. Especially if trying to rehabilitate.

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Helen
Female
42 years old
Australia

hard work, very satisfying

9/10

My son (12 years old) and I enjoyed our experience at Jogja wildlife rescue centre. We found out how the animal keepers work very hard and consistently all year around. The animal keepers made the animal interaction both fun and informative. We enjoyed the enrichment program for the animals and felt we could make a difference with our manual labour.
I agree with other volunteers comments that other activities would be good after the 3pm stop work, as the evening are long otherwise.
The school visit was enjoyable and my son loved the interaction with the village children.

How can this program be improved?

Other activities for the volunteers after the 3pm stop work in the centre.

Default avatar
claire
Female
57 years old
tasmania,Australia
University College Cork

great time and felt I was making a difference.

9/10

great accommodation and food.Really felt that the Centre staff cared about our well-being.Manual labour with a purpose and such a sense of achievement when viewing the fruit of our labours.Loved the interaction with the animal-keepers and their families.Enrichment programme for the animals immensely satisfying.

How can this program be improved?

I wouldn't go during Ramadhan

Default avatar
Emma
Female
42 years old
Dublin, Ireland

Amazing Experience

10/10

I had the most fantastic experience in WRC. All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful in creating a safe environment for the animals. All the animal keepers genuinely care about the well being of all the animals.
Each day was packed with something different from the day before so there you are learning something new every day.
I was not expecting such nice accommodation & was pleasantly surprised. The meals served daily was always varied and tasty.
Visiting the Javanese family's home for dinner was brilliant - the host family were so welcoming & friendly.

How can this program be improved?

I cannot think of anything.

Default avatar
Alla
Female
32 years old
Chicago, IL
Iowa State University

Amazing Experience

9/10

I found that working for BSBCC for a month was an amazing experience! It allowed me to learn about these awesome little bears who had difficult pasts, but will be able to eventually get back to the wild with the extensive care and love of the employees. The rehabilitation was evident in almost everything they did and the bears seemed to be happy and respond well to the gradual changes to get them used to the wild. All the people I worked with were very passionate about what they did and cared a great deal for the bears and the program. I really loved how I was treated as an employee. I did everything they did and felt like I was really getting a feel for what it is like to be working in an animal rehabilitation center. I also met some great friends and learned some things about the culture. This program really encouraged me to take a step forward and visit another country across the world and to feel like I also made a difference in volunteering for a good cause instead of simply taking a vacation. The only thing is that it is a lot of money to put out and I wished that it could be less expensive as I did pay my own way to get there and volunteered all my time. However, it is still well worth it and the money covers all expenses, the company is great and easy to work with and a good portion goes to the center itself as a donation to the cause you work for. So all in all it is an excellent opportunity and I don't regret it for a second!

How can this program be improved?

Less expensive.

Default avatar
Nisha
Female
32 years old
Singapore
Other

Character building

9/10

My friend and I went for a 1 week volunteer program.
My friend is not a animal lover like me so she was scared at first, when days went by, she was more passionate than me. Overall, it was life changing.

How can this program be improved?

It would improve by having an afternoon activity.
The daily volunteer program involves till 3pm and the volunteers do nothing till night, so i would recommend more fun activities to be packed in a day.

Default avatar
Mallory
Female
24 years old
Melbourne, Australia
Deakin University

Amazing animals, inspiring people and breath-taking scenery!

10/10

My two week volunteer experience at Jogja Wildlife Rescue Centre was absolutely incredible. From the word go, I was welcomed by centre staff and made to feel at home. Each day I was given the opportunity to assist in various tasks such as feeding and preparing food, cleaning enclosures and providing enrichment to the orangutans, gibbons, sun bear, bear cat, parrots, eagles, porcupines, slow loris and a whole list of rare and intriguing animals! It was a privilege to be up and close with such animals and to work alongside the animals keepers and centre staff.

My entire time spent at the centre was amazing but some highlights for me were learning more about the illegal wildlife trade, getting to know staff and volunteers at the centre, riding amongst beautiful Jogja on the back of a motorbike, teach Environmental English at the local school, Javan dinners at a member of staffs home on a Friday night and visiting Borobudur Temple!

This is an exprience you will not regret! I just hope I will get to visit the staff and animals sometime again!

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siantastic
Female
24 years old
Winchburgh, Scotland
University of Cumbria

10/10

10/10

I had the absolute best two weeks of my life volunteering at the centre. All the staff were lovely, the area is so beautiful, the accommodation was an excellent standard and working so closely with the animals was a dream come true. It was such a different way of life from the UK but it's beautiful. This experience has encouraged me to start studying a TEFL course in order I may be able to travel more whilst working and teaching English. Living out there is truly an eye-opener.

How can this program be improved?

Damn mosquitos!

Default avatar
Annie
Female
24 years old
Oxford, U.K.
Oxford Brookes University

An eye opening experience.

10/10

I spent two months volunteering with the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). It was an incredible experience which I enjoyed every moment of. The staff were so welcoming and helped out with any problems or questions I had. The volunteer work consisted of helping the bear keepers to prepare food, clean cages and create a variety of enrichment for the bears. I came to realise very quickly how amazing and beautiful these creatures are and why everyone at the centre is so passionate and dedicated to saving this species. Each bear was different, all having individual personalities. I fell in love with them all!

A lot of the bears are very nervous about leaving the safety of their cages and heading out into the forest enclosures. Whilst working there I got to witness the release of two bears into one of the enclosures which was incredible! I look forward to hearing about more successful releases in the future.

I think what impressed me the most was the dedication of the staff and the hard work they have put it. Siew Te Wong (CEO and founder of BSBCC) has devoted his life to these animals and the future appears to look extremely bright for this organisation. I look forward to visiting the centre again once it is complete.

Volunteering for BSBCC was extremely rewarding! I highly recommend the programme.

Default avatar
Alice
Female
32 years old
Hull UK
University of Leeds

An incredible adventure for animal lovers

10/10

The programme is an absolute must for animal lovers wanting to make a positive contribution to the lives of rescued wildlife in Indonesia.
From beginning to end - it's an action packed schedule to enable you to experience life as an animal keeper. From vet rounds to cage cleaning, and food prep to enrichment - there's something for everyone! The staff at the centre are extremely warm and welcoming and will guide you every step. You will experience a whole new way of life and learn so much about the wildlife of Asia on your trip. The team at the wildlife centre are like a family - you'll be welcomed in from day one.
If you have a passion for animals, want to get stuck in, you really want to learn and meet the locals then this is the project for you. I cannot speak more highly of the project! A once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real difference!

How can this program be improved?

Not a criticism of the programme - but be warned. It gets HOT. It can take a little time to adjust to the heat. Be prepared to feel a little more tired at the start whilst your body adjusts to the climate. After a couple of cold showers and a good sleep you're raring to go!

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Mia
Female
42 years old
Taipei, Taiwan

It would become the MOST valuable experience of your lifetime!!

10/10

Due to the limited time, my experience was about 2 weeks only, it was too short but still see, feel, and learn a lot. Wong, Waipak, and the keepers taught me many things while we were working or resting. They taught me mot only about the species, but also the rainforest ecology, the policy, management, difficulties and so on. Besides, Wong introduce many other people who were also working or volunteering in Sepilok.

The works do make you sweat a lot, and the insects were like everywhere while your are working... But every minute at BSBCC was worth!! BSBCC might be the only (few) places that you have the chance to taking care sun bears with many enthusiastic people, and also really gain some knowledge from the working.

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Marianne
Female
42 years old
Berkshire, United Kingdom

An unforgettable volunteer experience!

10/10

It was a great privilege to work as a volunteer for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) at Sepilok for four weeks. My first day commenced with an induction by the Sun Bear keepers. I was introduced to all Sun Bears, safety procedures were explained and the keepers demonstrated how to perform the work required. I assisted the keepers by preparing food, cleaning pens and making enrichment for the bears. The keepers were a pleasure to work with and my enrichment ideas were welcomed. The bear house is well designed and easy to work in. The neighbouring outdoor enclosure is a large primary forest area with many tall trees and plenty of shade. This area allows the bears to exhibit natural bear behaviour e.g. climbing trees, digging, breaking apart rotten logs searching for insects. As a volunteer you really get to know and recognise the bears individually. They all have different pale orange-yellow markings on their chest and all have their own personality. I particularly enjoyed observing the bears in their forest enclosure and during their enrichment activities.

While working as a volunteer I observed first hand the hard work, long hours and dedication of Siew Te Wong (CEO and Founder of BSBCC) and Wai Pak (BSBCC Project Manager). They are great ambassadors for the Sun Bear. They are extremely committed to helping the Sun Bear. I feel extremely privileged to have worked with such dedicated people and remarkable animals. I will miss the people and the bears but look forward to coming back and seeing how the bears have developed and progressed to their final destination, their true home, THE FOREST.

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ronan
Male
42 years old
christchurch
Cork Institute of Technology

experience of a lifetime

10/10

It is hard work in the hot humid jungle environment, but i love hard work, so it was perfect. You get to see & know so much about the bears everyday. We saw all kinds of other animals in the rainforest there too, orangutans, red leaf monkeys, macaques, snake, hornbills & countless other birds. You can learn so much about the precious eco system of the rainforest, both flora & fauna, from the centre's founder wong. You also learn lots about conservation & other wildlife issues from all the other people there. It is an experience i will never forget & will cherish till the day i die. & also a really important cause to support.

How can this program be improved?

that they had more money, resources & space for the bears. In fact i wish there was no need for a centre like this but these bears are in dire need of such a sanctuary & awareness creating centre.

Default avatar
Lauchlan
Male
32 years old
Hong Kong
University of Queensland

Something everyone should do.. .

8/10

This was the first time I had done a volunteering program and I was really surprised by how much i got out of the 7 days.

The organizers and fellow workers at the conservation are just fantastic and extremely helpful to ensure that you get the most out of your experience.

I went with a friend and she had done a lot of volunteering in the past and classed the accommodation as the "hilton" of volunteering programs - so in short excellent accommodation and facilities.

Each day consists of something different and essentially involves you in the husbandry of the various animals. The week before we arrived, a baby sun bear "Badue" was bought to the center and its hard not to fall in love with an animal like that. So if you are animal lover, this is for you.

You also get to do some manual labor, which for me was the most enjoyable, being stuck behind a computer for 15 hours a day at work means not a lot of time to get my hands dirty and the cage enrichment/building was really enjoyable - i.e. start something from the beginning and watch something get built from the ground up.. if i went back i would probably take a power saw though! A lot of wood to cut!!

I would highly recommend this to someone who enjoys animals and wants to give a little something back to well deserved cause.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing that I would say is that ensure you bring long sleeve shirts and pants, there are a lot of mosquitoes and the organizers didnt really tell us to do that.

Default avatar
Ronna
Female
42 years old
I am an American residing in Singapore
University of Michigan

Amazing Place, Really Great Experience

10/10

I am a HUGE animal lover, so to be able to work with/learn about/take care of a variety of wild animals was an amazing experience. The staff at the Center are super friendly, the program people want to make sure you get the most out of the experience, and working with the animals is truly priceless. I can not say enough good things about this experience. Each day you will help clean and feed a different type of animal so you can learn about each one (birds, monkeys, baby bear, and of course the amazing orangutans).....and you only have to participate at the level you are comfortable with. I truly recommend this program if you are interested in wildlife and would like to help/contribute in some small way to their daily happiness.

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