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OFI Enrichment Volunteer

Hiring Organization:
Orangutan Foundation International

Date Posted:

Position Description:

The OFI Enrichment Program offers individuals a rare opportunity to travel abroad and witness firsthand the impact and realities of wildlife and habitat protection, by working at OFI's Orangutan Care Center in Pasir Panjang, Kalimantan. The OFI Volunteer position designed to increase OFI's impact and to offer participants a unique insider experience.

Job Description:

The goal of the Environmental Enrichment Volunteer is to improve existing and create new ways of enriching the conditions under which the orangutans at the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCC&Q) are housed. While most individuals are taken into the jungle daily, it is important that the time they spend in their night cages is comfortable, stimulating and as stress-free as possible.

Work Plan:

Enrichment activities are coordinated by the local Enrichment specialist who works at the Care Centre. The two Enrichment Volunteers work closely with this person and share the duties, as well as bringing their own unique skills to the task.

The Enrichment Volunteers will start work at 8 AM as all staff and volunteers at the Care Centre. Their routine daily duties will include:

* Preparing behavioral enrichment, including food treats such as rattan balls with peanuts and raisins inside, pipes with jam or peanut butter, coconuts, ice flavored with fruit syrup, jelly and popcorn, etc.
* Providing items such as sacks, towels, boxes etc for play and forage opportunities
* Going with staff daily to collect branches for browse and nest-making material
* Shopping for materials when needed
* Making additional environmental enrichment items such as tyre swings, hammocks, puzzle feeders, forage boxes etc.
* Cooperate with the Coordinator to file a guided weekly report

Lunch break is noon-1 pm, and the work day wraps up at 4 PM.

The Enrichment Volunteers are expected to exercise their past experience and creativity by coming up with novel, ingenuous ways to keep orangutans engaged and active in their environment. This will include creating new toys, games, or using cheap and readily available materials in the Care Centre or the village to improve the quality of life for the orangutans.

Job-Specific Requirements:

1. Education requirements: some education in biology, animal behaviour, wildlife biology, animal husbandry or other relevant fields.
2. Experience requirements: Some experience in animal care and husbandry, zoo experience, veterinary experience, and/or education in animal husbandry, care and psychology. Ideally, this candidate will have had experienced in primate care and in habitat enrichment specifically.
3. Skill requirements: knowledge of animal behaviour, ability to work with challenging, heavy materials, calmness in work with potentially unpredictable animals. Ability to work with local Dayak culture.
4. Language requirements: ideal candidate would have some proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia. Every candidate must have strong willingness and ability to learn before or during internship.
5. Physical capabilities: physically fit, resilient and high-endurance individual.
6. Health status: Able to live for long period of time away from western hospitals and possibly in isolated forest.

Critical Success Factors

Successful OFI Volunteers tend to share certain skills and characteristics:

* Experience traveling, working or volunteering in developing, tropical nations
* High degree of flexibility, open-mindedness, creativity and optimism
* Strong interest in orangutans and other endangered wildlife
* Dedication to working in the field in primitive conditions
* Ability and commitment to fundraise for the trip

Orangutan Foundation International protects 6,000 wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Facilities include the Orangutan Care Center, which rehabilitates 330 young orangutans and prepares them for return to the wild, 16 guard posts throughout the park and numerous staffed feeding stations.

Volunteering for OFI can have a big impact -- on your life and the lives of the thousands of orangutans we fight to protect. Each year, OFI is grateful to receive many kind inquiries from volunteers willing to spend weeks, months, even years in Kalimantan, helping in the Orangutan Care Centre or in Tanjung Puting National Park.

Except for the positions listed, OFI is not currently setup to accommodate volunteers in the field. We are proud to be a major employer in Pasir Panjang (home of the Care Centre.) Each job we create for Indonesians represents proof that environmental conservation and economic development can go together.

For our successful long-term volunteers, OFI is pleased to be able to offer letters of reference that will serve as testimony of their dedication to our organization and the quality of the contribution they have made to our cause. Volunteers are expected to submit a final report on what they have learned, experienced, and accomplished during their tenure with OFI.

About the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCC&Q)

The OCC&Q is situated in the village of Pasir Panjang, a 15 minute drive from the small city of Pangkalan Bun. This city has an airport and is situated in the south of the province of Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia. Living conditions are basic, with limited running water, no landlines or Internet. Internet is available a 10 minute ride away in the town. Most of the locals speak rudimentary or no English. Languages are Indonesian and local Dayak dialect.

The OCC&Q houses over 300 orphaned orangutans, most of who are being prepared for release. The majority of individuals are under 10 years old. The Centre consists of a central clinic and units housing the older individuals, while the outlying juvenile units and the medical quarantine facility are set in the surrounding 80 hectare forest.

Most of the orangutans are very well-habituated to humans. They arrive in the OCC&Q by confiscation from homes, black markets, entertainment industry, and abusive zoos.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Life at the OCC&Q

Volunteers work on a daily basis in the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine in Pasir Panjang. The staff working hours are 8:00 to 16:00, with a lunch break at around noon. If desired, the volunteer may take one day off a week. Living arrangements are typically with a local family homestay. The quality of care in the homes varies, from simple room accommodation to cooking and laundry. OFI makes an effort to arrange homestays for all its interns and volunteers, but there is an element of unpredictability in any such arrangements. In case of emergency, hotel/motel accommodations are present in Pangkalan Bun and even closer to Pasir Panjang. Food is provided to local staff and all willing volunteers in the Care Centre twice a day (breakfast and lunch). The fare is simple but healthy (usually rice and vegetables or tofu). Dinner is the responsibility of the volunteer (homestay families may cook for their guests).
Program Costs and Requirements:

Volunteer positions are unpaid. The volunteer is responsible for flights, internal transportation, visas and health insurance. Successful applicants will receive an assignment of four to six months. OFI will organize a homestay with a host family. Room and board ranges from $200-$250 USD a month. The complete cost of a four-month volunteer experience originating from North America is approximately $3,400 USD.

The following documents are required from all volunteers prior to departure:

* Proof of vaccinations
* A health certificate from a doctor
* Negative tests results from the following diseases:
o Hepatitis
o Tuberculosis
* Proof of medical insurance
* Proof of travel abroad insurance
* Signed work contract
* Signed confidentiality agreement

Term of Appointment:
Position Duration: There are two Enrichment Fellows at the Care Centre on an ongoing basis. The length of this position is 4 months or more to be determined by you before coming to Indonesia. Another volunteer will replace you immediately before or after your departure.

Application Deadline:

How to Apply For a Position in the Volunteer Program:

Admission to the volunteer program is competitive. To apply, please follow these steps:

1. All applicants must be members in good standing of OFI. To join OFI, please visit: The fee is $35 for a student or senior membership.
2. Download and fill out the long-term volunteer application form here:
3. Submit the following documents to

* Proof of OFI membership
* Long-term volunteer application form
* Cover letter
* Resume
* Two references

You will receive a return reply from one of our volunteer coordinators within one week. Please note that all of our volunteer coordinators are themselves volunteers, so please be patient if there is an occasional communications delay.

Contact Information:
Sarah Whitaker
824 South Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Telephone Number:

Fax Number:


E-mail Address:

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