Orangutan Foundation International
The position is designed to increase OFI's impact by aiding the rehabilitation process for the ex-captive orphan orangutans at the Care Center. The goals of the Enrichment/Release Volunteer is to improve the existing and to create new ways of enriching the conditions under which the orangutans at the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine (OCC&Q) are housed, and to work with the local OFI staff to increase the supervised daily releases of the orangutans into the forest.
OFI’s rehabilitation philosophy is founded on emulating the normal developmental progress of infant/juvenile orangutans in the wild, while providing the maximum training possible to replace the orphans’ lost mothers and prepare them for eventual permanent release into regional forests. Providing environmental enrichment (while at the OCCQ) is necessary to keep the young animals stimulated and healthy in their semi-captive/semi-free-ranging environment, while regular release in the ‘rehabilitation forest’ surrounding the OCCQ (also known as “jungle school”) is essential opportunity for developing skills necessary for adult survival in the wild.
OFI aims to keep two or three Enrichment/Release Volunteers at the Care Center at all times. Volunteers accepted for Enrichment/Release will share the responsibilities of both enrichment and release duties; all volunteers should be qualified and prepared to fulfill the many aspects of this position set but will, in practice, be focused on a more specific set of tasks. Their focus will depend on the needs at the Care Center and may change over time. The volunteers will need to work closely with each other and with local staff to determine how their skills are best used to continue and expand the traditional enrichment practices, as well as bringing their own unique skills to the task.
Enrichment activities are coordinated by the local Enrichment specialist who works at the Care Center. The Care Center Manager in the Care Center will monitor progress, act as a sounding board, and help with any local logistical issues regarding Release. Volunteers will work at various pondoks (age-classed units of orangutans housed together in groups of 20-40 individuals). The coordinators of each pondok also report to the Care Center Manager. Release duties include assisting staff with bringing orangutans from their sleeping enclosures to the forest, supervising the orangutans in the forest, and returning them to their enclosures at the end of the day. This should be coordinated such that the orangutans with the most need of extra attention receive the greatest amount of volunteer support.
(routine daily duties may include, but are not limited to, the following)
•Participating in group releases of multiple orangutans from the same age unit.
•Individually taking out single orangutans.
•Building bonds and establishing trust with the orangutans, particularly those with health/physiological or behavioral/psychological issues.
•Going with staff daily to collect branches for browse and nest-making material, then distributing the green matter to orangutan’s sleeping enclosures.
•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.
•Shopping for materials when needed.
•Making additional environmental enrichment items such as tire swings, hammocks, puzzle feeders, forage boxes etc.
•Observing unusual behaviors and reporting to senior staff, veterinarians, and Dr Galdikas.
•Tracking eating habits of orangutans; sourcing and providing special foods for individualized diet supplementing.
Position Duration: Six months.
Application Deadline: Rolling
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
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: www.orangutan.org. The fee is $35 for a student or senior membership.
2. Download and fill out the long-term volunteer application form here: http://www.orangutan.org/how-to-help/volunteer/long-term-volunteering
3. Submit the following documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
•Proof of OFI membership
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.
824 Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049
•Education requirements: some education in biology, animal behavior, wildlife biology, animal husbandry or other relevant fields
•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.
•Skill requirements: knowledge of animal behavior, ability to work with challenging, heavy materials, calmness in work with potentially unpredictable animals.
•Ability to work within local Dayak culture and with OFI’s all-Indonesian staff
•Language requirements: ideal candidate would have some proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia. Every candidate must have strong willingness and ability to learn before or during tenure.
•Physical capabilities: physically fit, resilient and high-endurance individual.
•Health status: Able to live for long period of time away from western hospitals and possibly in isolated forest.
General 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.
Program Costs and Requirements:
Volunteers will be expected to cover International flights to Jakarta Indonesia as well as domestic flights to Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan Tengah. 2 500 000 IDR per month in rent in Pasir Panjang: includes three basic meals a day, electricity, and accommodation. Additional funds should be budgeted for miscellaneous personal expenses. (There are small local shops nearby.) Volunteers will also be responsible for the cost of initial visa which OFI will help you acquire, as well as renewals 3 times during the 6 months. (approx. 1 000 000 IDR average each trip). Volunteers are responsible for basic field equipment.
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
Term of Appointment:
824 South Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Questions and Comments
Questions about a specific job listing should be directed to the
contact person listed for that job. Questions and comments about using
the Primate-Jobs web site can be directed to Joe Kemnitz at