Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary

Volunteer to help save the wildlife of Asia at the Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary

Volunteer at this amazing rescue, rehabilitation and release centre for animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade. Located on one of Indonesia's most beautiful islands, the sanctuary plays an important role in Indonesian wildlife conservation.

“A truly remarkable and unforgettable adventure.”

Ann, Retired teacher, UK

Project Overview

The Project: The project is a rescue, rehabilitation and release centre for animals saved from the illegal wildlife trade. Sulawesi Island, location of the project remains the jumping off point for illegal shipments of animals for the exotic pet and ‘medicinal’ markets in Asia as well as having a thriving local bush meat industry. The existence of the rescue facility means the authorities are able to enforce, raid and confiscate live animals that are being trafficked and home the with the project for aperiod of transition.

Project Location: The sanctuary is set on an idyllic coastal headland on the tropical Indonesian island of Sulawesi which is about a four hour flight from Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Main Volunteer Activities: Preparing food and feeding the animals, maintaining the wildlife sanctuary and keeping animal enclosures clean.

Hours: Volunteers work a six day week with one day a week off for relaxing in the stunning surroundgs of the projects. Daily working hours vary depending on the weather but are generally 8 hours a day.

Duration: Volunteer placements are year-round and for 2 to 8 weeks.

Accommodation: On-site dormitories with shared bathroom facilities.

Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers at this project must be aged 18+ be physically fit and have a passion for wildlife conservation.

Volunteer Placement Fee: From UK£1,055 / US$1,255

What’s Included

        √  Free airport pick up from Manado international airport.
        √  Accommodation at the sanctuary.    
        √  Three meals a day
        √  Orientation guide and induction on arrival.
        √  In-country support from local volunteer co-ordinator.
        √  All necessary project equipment and materials.
        √  All necessary project training by experienced staff.
        √  Project donation.

What’s not included
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Vaccinations and inoculations
  • Meals, drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Onward transport at the end of your placement
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs
What do every day items cost?

The official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and there are approximately 13,000 IDR to the US dollar and 17,000 IDR to the pound. Volunteers will have little opportunity to spend money while on site however below are examples of items volunteers may wish to purchase locally:

  • Can of a soft drink - 5,000IDR
  • Meal at a good restaurant - 50,000 IDR
  • Meal from a street vendor - 15,000 IDR
  • Taxi ride one hour - 250,000 IDR
  • Can of beer - 7,000 IDR
Project History

The Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary  was set up in order to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife between Indonesia and The Philippines and onwards towards China, Taiwan and Japan.  Being the closest Indonesian island to The Philippines, Sulawesi has always been a staging post for the trade of wildlife and wildlife products being transported from Java, Sumatra, Borneo and other eastern islands of Indonesia.

Endangered species such as orangutan, lorises and pangolin are amongst the animals that have been rescued on the past. Without the centre local authorities would not be able to enforce wildlife protection laws, undertake raids and confiscate live animals. As such the Sanctuary is a vital part of the wildlife conservation effort in Indonesia.

How the project is helping
Rescued animals are brought to the sanctuary to live in a safe place, to be rehabilited and where possible released back into the wild.
Many animals arrive in a stressed and neglected state and need a period of rest and secialist veterinary care to bring them back to health.
Unfortunately, some are permanently disabled, stressed or domesticated and will never recover sufficiently to live in the wild. In addition, many of the animals rescued in Sulawesi are not native to the island, but have been seized from smugglers as part of the exotic pet trade, and cannot safely be released to an unfamiliar habitat or imposed upon local ecosystems. The Indonesia Wildlife Rescue Centre endeavours to preserve these animals' dignity by creating habitats where captive animals may thrive. It is hoped that these animals may enjoy the best quality of life possible in captivity.
Why the project need volunteers

The project receives no state funding, but through volunteer support, private donations and grants the project is able to continue its work and reach out into the community to raise awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Volunteers make a huge difference at this project where you work with the permanent project staff helping with a variety of activities to make the animals stay at the centre as comfortable as posible. Volunteers bring much needed extra pairs of hands and can introduce new enthusiasm, energy and ideas into every day of your stay.

Typical Volunteer Duties

Volunteers currently work a six day week. Daily working hours vary depending on the weather and the needs at the wildlife sanctuary however volunteer duites generally last about 8 hours a day. Volunteers make an early start along with the animals and will work independently or with local staff in a variety of different tasks.

There is always a range of tasks to be carried out by volunteers depending on the needs of the project when you are there, but this is an example of typical working day:

06:00 to 08:00 - Harvesting, cleaning and morning feed for the animals
08:00 to 09:00 - Breakfast
09:00 to 11:30 - Preparation and provision of enrichments, additional assignments
11:30 to 13:00 - Lunch
13:00 to 16:00 - Afternoon feed, harvesting, providing enrichments to the animals
16.00 – Finish work, time for a well earned shower and time on the beach!
18.00 – 19:00 - Dinner.

As this is a truly dynamic project volunteer may find duties change during their placement. Due to the tropical climate the work can be tough however most afternoons a nice coastal breeze keeps the temperature down.

Direct contact with the animals is discouraged for your safety and the safety of the animals, however, volunteers will see their hard work rewarded as animals delight in being transferred to larger enclosures or simply in passing the orangutans out on their daily walks!

Volunteer Accommodation

Location, location, location! After the animals, the best thing about this project has to be the lcation. Volunteers can take full advantage of the sanctuary's superb setting right on the beach with views of distant volcanoes as you will be living right on site. Which also means you don't have far to go to start working each day!

Volunteers stay in shared accommodation divided into male and female dormitories. Shared bathrooms have western style flush toilets and cold showers. There is a communal area where you can relax and watch TV and DVDs and plenty of outside space for chilling out, or treating yourself to a sundowner while you take in those views and listen to the sounds of the wildlife all around you.

Indonesian meals are cooked daily by a local Chef and offer vegetarian and vegan options.

Free Time at the Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary

The evenings at the rescue centre are generally quiet as most volunteers relax after a long days work. Games, movies and socializing often set the tone for the night.

The local village, which sees few tourists, is well worth a visit and curious locals will seize the opportunity to practice their English and find out more about you. Volunteers sometimes take a taxi to Manado which has many restaurants, bars and shopping malls.

A weekly shopping trip gives volunteers the chance to stock up on snacks and supplies and check their email. On Sundays, volunteers are free to explore the nearby city of Bitung, surrounding national parks, trek volcanoes or take advantage of ample snorkelling and dive sites. 
Volunteers can take advantage of the many tourism opportunities that Sulawesi has to offer before or after their placement. Islands, waterfalls, treks, diving, snorkelling, national parks and festivals abound.

Bunaken, an island 30km off the coast of Manado offers some of South-East Asia’s best dive sites containing steep drop-offs, caves and tunnels with a magnificent abundance of coral and fish.

Furthermore, the exotic and isolated Togean Islands are a lost tropical paradise comparable to Thailand but without the crowds. Indonesia offers a wealth of opportunities to the adventurous tourist and those wanting to stray from the beaten track.

Weeks £GBP US$
2 £905  $1,075
3 £1,055  $1,255 
4 £1,160  $1,380
5 £1,335  $1,590 
6 £1,470  $1,750 
7 £1,645  $1,960 
8 £1,780  $2,120 
9 £1,955  $2,325 
10 £2,130  $2,535 
11 £2,305  $2,745
12 £2,465 $2,935

Volunteer rated at
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary Photo Album

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