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ATTENTION: This job expired Nov. 20, 2013 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

Orangutan Research Volunteer

Hiring Organization:
Orangutan Health Project

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Principal Investigator: MVDr Ivona Foitova PhD
Qualifications: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, PhD study of Diseases of Wild Animals and Animals in Zoological Gardens from Veterinary and Pharmaceutical University of Brno, Czech Republic, Europe.
Affiliations: UMI - Saving of Pongidae Foundation.
Research Site: Leuser Ecosystem, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Rendezvous site: Polonia International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Team size: Minimum 2, maximum 8.

The project is proud to be able to provide important work for the local community and employs only local guides for trekking in the forest.


Day 1: Arrive in Medan, travel to project, orientation to location, rest and recuperate.

Day 2: Orientation to project and tasks. Start work in the office.

Day 3: Visit the orangutan feeding platform and practice trek in the forest. Second visit to feeding or free-time (swimming/tubing, etc.)

Day 4: Volunteer tasks at base (see below).

Days 5-10: Fieldwork/trekking with overnight stays in the forest carrying
out tasks necessary to the project's research (see below). Three meals per day and water are provided.
Alternatively, several one-day treks in the jungle to carry out tasks necessary to the project's research (no overnight camping)

Day 11: Field work data processing.

Day 12: Free day. (Re-visit feeding platform/swimming/tubing/opportunity for cultural outings.) Volunteer BBQ.

Day 13: Travel to Medan (AM) for afternoon flights.

IMPORTANT: The above is only an example of a possible schedule of activities. It is always subject to change based on the needs of the project. Staying overnight in the forest is not guaranteed and will be based on considerations such as weather, staff availability, number of volunteers, and most importantly, physical fitness of the volunteers.


- Entering behavioural data collected by Field Assistants
- Organising samples of orangutan foodstuffs and preparing for our herbarium
- Organising faecal samples collected by Field Assistants
- Preparing equipment for Field Assistants to go to the forest
- Preparing behavioural data sheets
- Preparing sample bottles for Field Assistants
- Shopping for project supplies in town or at the local market
- Brainstorming ideas to help the project’s promotion
- Keeping temperature, weather and humidity data records updated
- Cleaning project office and accommodation


- Locating areas with a significant wild orangutan population
- Finding and following orangutans to collect behavioural data and faecal and plant samples
- Nest counting to provide seasonally varying estimates of the orangutan population
- Fruit trail transects to record the range of foodstuffs available to orangutans in an area

Volunteers on every team will get proper instruction and information about the following matters:

- The project and your role/responsibilities within it
- Safe behaviour in tropical countries, potential health risks and precautions
- Proper sample collecting techniques and data entry protocols
- Advice about the best clothing and equipment for work in the forest
- Local flora and fauna and especially about the orangutans
- Indonesian culture, basic language, and appropriate behaviour in Sumatra

Ability to live under basic conditions with limited amenities
Openness to, and acceptance of, non-Western ideas and cultures
Fluency in the English language


Cost: US$1,289 (excluding flights, insurance and tourist visa) / US$990 for students (excluding flights, insurance and tourist visa).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Your participation fee is used to cover all the day-to-day expenses of running the project, including food and accommodations for volunteers and staff, operation of the project base, lab equipment and supplies, and helps provide the funds necessary to transport faecal, plant, and soil samples abroad for important analysis work. We also pay the full cost of national park permits, at tourist rates. Any "leftovers" are invested in the future expansion of the project, including the building of an ambitious new research station in an area of forest previously unstudied. This area is home to a significant population of wild orangutans and the new station will go a long way to protecting their habitat while simultaneously providing a site for conservation education, an international summer school and an expansion of research.

Term of Appointment:
Team Dates Start the 1st Monday of each Month, length of 13 days

Contact Information:
Dr. Ivona Foitova

Telephone Number:


E-mail Address:

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