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Positions Available

Assistant to Dr. Galdikas, Internship

Hiring Organization:
Orangutan Foundation International

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Job Description

The primary role of the OFI Intern is to help Dr. Galdikas manage all her professional and personal commitments that are challenged by Dr. Galdikas’ demanding schedule, constant travel, and intense commitment to all aspects of the organization. Interns act as a conduit between Dr. Galdikas and the many OFI stakeholders, including donors, staff, and volunteers who are spread across various continents and time-zones. Interns may also be involved with work to support Dr. Galdikas' future research publications. Interns will gain experience with public relations, fundraising and donor communication, developing platforms and strategies for activism and public policy initiatives, and daily operations at the field-site including purchasing supplies, managing inventory, geographical and environmental surveys. There will be an opportunity for hands-on involvement with the orangutans and other ex-captive animals being rehabilitated at the Care Center, including behavioral and dietary enrichment, health checks, and more.

Central responsibilities include helping Dr. Galdikas in day-to-day activities and commitments, keeping track of approaching deadlines and helping Dr. Galdikas meet them, maintain contact with staff, donors, volunteers, board and other stakeholders, and taking menial and repetitive tasks off her hands.

Daily tasks are highly variable. Interns may be asked to assist with any and all aspects of OFI’s work. Those listed below represent only some of the more common tasks.

Work plan:

To aid Dr. Galdikas however needed in daily tasks:

-Providing general clerical and computer assistance, including data entry, scanning, proofreading and formatting documents, etc.

-Keeping track of deadlines and schedules, drawing Dr Galdikas’ attention to upcoming and pressing issues.

-Travelling with Dr. Galdikas to help with logistics, heavy lifting, etc.

-Driving to appointments, to and from airports, accompanying her to public events, etc.

-Organizing physical documents.

-Preparing slides for lectures, locating information and photographs, etc.

To facilitate coordination between OFI’s various locations and teams:

-Communicating from the field to the administrative branches and vice-

-Fact-gathering, collecting data as requested in order to supply information and details necessary for grant applications, grant reports, and donor reports, etc.

-Keeping track of the editorial process, including which drafts are approved and which are undergoing revision, which are appropriate for various purposes and audiences.

-Providing all branches of OFI with Dr. Galdikas’ feedback on various projects.

Working hours are extremely variable and atypical.
-Can consist of 14-hour field trips (in Borneo), sometimes followed by late nights of urgent office work.

-In Vancouver, work structured around Dr G’s teaching schedule and appointments, and is also usually very late-night.

-In LA, share office space and working hours with office staff and/or volunteers.

Volunteering with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI)

Orangutan Foundation International protects 6,000 wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Facilities include 16 guard posts throughout the park and numerous staffed feeding stations in addition to the Orangutan Care Center, which rehabilitates 330 young orangutans and prepares them for return to the wild. 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 OCCQ by confiscation from homes, black markets, entertainment industry, and abusive zoos.

Volunteering for OFI can have a big impact on your life and on 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. 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.

Life at the OCC&Q

The OCCQ 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. Volunteers work on a daily basis in the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine in Pasir Panjang. Most of the locals speak rudimentary or no English. Languages are Indonesian and local Dayak dialect. 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. Living conditions are basic, with limited running water, no landlines or Internet (although internet is available a 10 minute ride away in the town). 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

Program Requirements

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

-Proof of vaccinations

-Negative tests results from the following diseases:




-Proof of travel & medical insurance

-Signed work contract

-Signed confidentiality agreement

How to Apply: 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

-Cover letter


-Two references

Applicants will receive a return reply from one of our volunteer coordinators within two weeks. 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 Cornish
824 Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Telephone Number:

Fax Number:


E-mail Address:

Critical Success Factors

The successful candidate for this position will have the following attributes:

-Passion for orangutans and rainforest conservation, dedication to the mission of saving orangutans coupled with a will to seek out opportunities
and to pursue them.

-Strong loyalty to Dr. Galdikas based on respect for her achievements and perseverance.

-Enjoy working with people, highly personable, friendly, and diplomatic.

-Highly flexible in personal habits and space, comfortable with last-minute change, happy to “go with the flow” in confusing situations.

-Ability to multi-task and to pursue many projects in parallel, to keep all tasks organized, and to help all participants stay on a timeline.

-Excellent writing skills.

-Interest in and desire to write all of as much as possible of correspondence, research papers, reports, and articles required to advance OFI and Dr. Galdikas’ cause.

-Interns receive a stipend of $5,000 per annum

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
All expenses in Borneo are covered (including air travel to and from North America and Borneo).

Accommodation is provided

-in Vancouver, share comfortable suburban house with Dr Galdikas

-in LA, probably stay in LA office (adjacent to Dr G’s home)

-in Indonesia, stay in homestay family in Pasir Panjang village

-often share hotel rooms when travelling with Dr. Galdikas

(Note: Since lodging is frequently with Dr. Galdikas, female candidates are strongly preferred.)

No health insurance or other benefits are available.

Term of Appointment:
1-2 years

Application Deadline:

Contact Information:
Noelle Tankard
824 South Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Telephone Number:


E-mail Address:

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