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Positions Available

Sun Bear Husbandry Volunteer in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Hiring Organization:
Orangutan Foundation International

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) is seeking self-motivated, independent volunteers to work with the Malayan sun bears it currently houses at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) facility in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Job Description:

The OCCQ currently takes in and houses all animals in need including the local subspecies of Malayan sun bear. These bears sometimes arrive at OFI?s facilities injured or traumatized after being captured from the wild; many have been confiscated by local authorities after being kept as pets in poor conditions. OFI has multiple large, forested enclosures as well as adjacent holding cages, which combined currently accommodate over a dozen sun bears. The number of bears held at the OCCQ varies depending on releases and new intakes. OFI?s Sun Bear Rehabilitation Program selects and rehabilitates any bear cubs that are healthy and deemed fit for reintroduction back into the wild. The Sun Bear Husbandry Volunteer will work at the OCCQ facility with local staff to care for the adult and juvenile bears who are not capable of being released back into the wild, as well as any cubs involved in OFI?s Sun Bear Rehabilitation Program. Volunteers will help with feeding, enclosure cleaning, enrichment, repairs and monitoring of all bears at the OCCQ.

Work Plan:
Duties may vary widely throughout the volunteer placement and there will be no shortage of variety or volume of volunteer tasks. Duties are very much self delegated, so a high degree of self motivation is required for the sun bear volunteer. Safe physical contact with the adult and juvenile sun bears is expected and we encourage volunteers to form a bond with the bears to enable a good working relationship as well as to enrich the lives of the bears within our care.
The majority of the time the volunteer will be working up close and personal with the sun bears at the OCCQ undertaking enrichment and animal husbandry activities such as:
- Ensuring bears are fed regularly and have water
- Assisting local staff in cleaning and maintaining enclosure and holding cages
- Collecting ant and termite rich logs from the forest for the bears to chew and claw, an essential natural behavior
- Searching for termite nests in the forest to bring the bears
- Cutting and delivering leafy branches for the bears to build nests with
- Building structures for the bear cages such as swings, platforms, climbing posts, etc., and research and implementation of any other enrichment ideas as desired
- Monitoring forest enclosure to ensure fence is clear of debris and there is no structural damage
- Reporting weekly on the well being, behavior, and health of the bears to the program director

The opportunity may also present itself for volunteers to help rehabilitators care for sun bear cubs preparing for, or undergoing rehabilitation at a forest release site. Therefore flexibility and the ability to work well in a team are important qualities for the position. The sun bear volunteer position will also involve enrichment and husbandry for several other animals at the clinic including a cassowary, two binturongs (bear-cats), as well as several macaque monkeys. It may also be possible for the Sun Bear Volunteer to assist with orangutan daily release and any other tasks and activities that may be required.

Position Duration: Four to six months with possibility of extension

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 and Quarantine (OCCQ), which is currently rehabilitating over 300 young orangutans and preparing them for return to the wild. The majority of individuals are under 10 years old. The Care Center consists of a central clinic and units housing the older individuals, while the outlying juvenile and infant 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 OCCQ:

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 and only occasional internet access through 3G cell phones, limited and unreliable wireless set-ups available at some homestays, and wireless internet cafes available in the nearby city of Pangkalan Bun. The quality of amenities in the homes varies, from simple room accommodation to cooking and laundry provided. 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 Costs and Requirements:

Volunteers will be expected to cover International flights to Jakarta, Indonesia as well as domestic flights to Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan Tengah. Homestay rental fees are approximately 3,000,000 IDR (usually less than $300 USD) per month in Pasir Panjang, which includes three basic meals a day, electricity, and accommodation. Additional funds should be budgeted for miscellaneous personal expenses like phone credit (there are small local shops for snacks, etc.). Volunteers will also be responsible for the cost of their initial visa, which OFI will help you acquire, as well as renewals three times during the six months (approx. 1,000,000 IDR average each visa renewal 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 of vaccinations for the following diseases:
o Hepatitis
o Tuberculosis
- 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 $45 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
- Resume
- Two professional 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:
OFI Volunteer Committee
824 Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Telephone Number: 310-820-4906
E-mail Address:

Job-Specific Requirements:
- Strong interest in sun bears and other endangered wildlife
- Maturity and a strong work ethic are a must
- Willingness to have physical contact with bears in order to form a bond
- Willingness to work with captive animals in a forest setting which will result in becoming dirty, sweaty, and potentially sore every day
- Experience in working with teams of people of very diverse backgrounds and personalities
- Indonesian-language ability at basic or conversational level; willingness to learn daily throughout the volunteer tenure
- Experience in animal husbandry and welfare is preferred, ideally with large mammals
- Background education in animal husbandry, conservation, or biology is also desirable
- Excellent English language writing, photography, or videography skills are a plus

General Skills and Characteristics:
- Experience traveling, working or volunteering in developing, tropical nations
- Cultural sensitivity, understanding, and adaptability
- High degree of flexibility, open-mindedness, creativity, and optimism
- Strong interest in orangutans and other endangered wildlife
- Dedication to working in field conditions
- Ability and commitment to fundraise for the trip

Contact Information:
OFI Volunteer Committee
824 South Wellesley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Telephone Number:

E-mail Address:

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