The OFI Long Term Volunteer Program offers individuals a rare opportunity to travel abroad and witness firsthand the impact and realities of wildlife and habitat protection, by working at OFI’s Orangutan Care Center in Pasir Panjang, Kalimantan. The OFI Long Term Volunteer is an unpaid position designed to increase OFI’s impact and to offer participants a unique insider experience. Orangutan Foundation International protects 6,000 wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Facilities include the Orangutan Care Center, which rehabilitates 330 young orangutans and prepares them for return to the wild, 16 guard posts throughout the park and numerous staffed feeding stations. Volunteering for OFI can have a big impact — on your life and 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 Center or in Tanjung Puting National Park.
Except for the positions listed, OFI is not currently setup to accommodate volunteers in the field. We are proud to be a major employer in Pasir Panjang (home of the Care Centre.) Each job we create for Indonesians represents proof that environmental conservation and economic development can go together.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.
The OCC&Q 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. Living conditions are basic, with limited running water, no landlines or Internet. Internet is available a 10 minute ride away in the town. Most of the locals speak rudimentary or no English. Languages are Indonesian and local Dayak dialect. The OCC&Q houses over 300 orphaned orangutans, most of who are being prepared for release. 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 OCC&Q by confiscation from homes, black markets, entertainment industry, and abusive zoos.
Volunteers work on a daily basis in the Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine in Pasir Panjang. 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. 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. Food is provided to local staff and all willing volunteers in the Care Centre twice a day (breakfast and lunch). The fare is simple but healthy (usually rice and vegetables or tofu). Dinner is the responsibility of the volunteer (homestay families may cook for their guests).
Volunteer positions are unpaid. The volunteer is responsible for flights, internal transportation, visas and health insurance. Successful applicants will receive an assignment of four to six months. OFI will organize a homestay with a host family. Room and board ranges from $200-$250 USD a month. The complete cost of a six-month volunteer experience originating from North America is approximately $3,800 USD. The following documents are required from all volunteers prior to departure:
Admission to the volunteer program is competitive. To apply, please follow these steps:
You will receive a return reply from one of our volunteer coordinators within one week. Please note that all of our volunteer coordinators are themselves volunteers, so please be patient if there is an occasional communications delay. The following are positions in our volunteer program. Please note that not all positions are available at all times.
The OFI Communications Volunteer is a position well-suited to energetic and innovative individuals. The Communications Volunteer is an integral part of the OFI Team, acting as OFI’s eyes and ears in the field and helping to extend limited resources to maximum effect. The Communication Volunteer’s dual background in both communication and conservation allows him or her to be at home amidst the confusion of the Orangutan Care Centre while translating the action to a public presentation for the global OFI community. This requires correct interpretation of events and engaging, appropriate presentation through various forms of communication media. Communication Volunteers gain experience and insight, and contribute fresh thinking, into a critically important aspect of conservation – involvement of the international public. OFI has a long and established history as a research, conservation and education organization. It is vitally important that this work continues to be brought to the attention of the public, and the friends and donors involved with OFI. OFI Volunteers fulfill tasks set out in a Work Plan defined by OFI. The Volunteer is based in the Orangutan Care Centre and works closely with OFI’s North American staff and volunteer team.
The tasks outlined above are only the standard responsibility of the communications volunteer. Every tenure will also involve one or more special projects which will address the communication, outreach and fundraising needs of OFI on and off the field at the time.
The OFI Volunteer Program offers individuals a rare opportunity to travel abroad and witness firsthand the impact and realities of wildlife and habitat protection, by working at OFI’s Orangutan Care Center in Pasir Panjang, Kalimantan. The OFI Volunteer is an unpaid position designed to increase OFI’s impact and to offer participants a unique insider experience.
The goal of the OFI Enrichment Volunteer is to improve existing and create new ways of enriching the conditions under which the orangutans at the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCC&Q) are housed. While most individuals are taken into the jungle daily, it is important that the time they spend in their night cages is comfortable, stimulating and as stress-free as possible.
Enrichment activities are coordinated by the local Enrichment specialist who works at the Care Center. The two Enrichment Volunteers work closely with this person and share the duties, as well as bringing their own unique skills to the task. The Enrichment Volunteers will start work at 8 AM as all staff and volunteers at the Care Center. Their routine daily duties will include:
Lunch break is noon-1 pm, and the work day wraps up at 4 PM. The Enrichment Volunteers are expected to exercise their past experience and creativity by coming up with novel, ingenuous ways to keep orangutans engaged and active in their environment. This will include creating new toys, games, or using cheap and readily available materials in the Care Center or the village to improve the quality of life for the orangutans.
There are two Enrichment Volunteers at the Care Center on an ongoing basis. The length of this position is 6 months or more to be determined by you before coming to Indonesia. Another volunteer will replace you immediately before or after your departure.
Orangutan Foundation International 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.
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 built a one hectare forest enclosure at the OCCQ which now houses several adult and juvenile sun bears we are unable to reintroduce into the wild. 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 and other sun bear Rehabilitators to care for these adult and juvenile bears 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.
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. 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:
During times away from forest release site, the major responsibility will be assisting the Bear Coordinator with the rehabilitation/care of two juvenile and one adult sun bears currently housed at the OCCQ, including daily husbandry and routine chores such as cleaning, feeding, enrichment, behavioural observations as well as helping with a large enclosure construction project planned for the next year
General Skills and Characteristics:
This position provides a unique opportunity to gain invaluable animal handling experience while most importantly participating in the reintroduction of Malayan sun bear cubs back into the wild. OFI’s sun bear reintroduction program is ideal for animal keepers, ethologists, carnivore enthusiasts, and those with an interest in gaining hands on experience in wildlife reintroduction.
Orangutan Foundation International is urgently seeking new sun bear Rehabilitators to participate in the reintroduction of young bear cubs back into the wild in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The OFI Sun Bear Reintroduction Project started in May 2011 and has progressed with the continued influx of orphan bears into OFI’s Indonesian run Orangutan Care Center & Quarantine (OCCQ) facility. OFI’s sun bear rehabilitation so far has been based on the proven ‘walk-release’ method, in which the bear is walked daily in the forest by a ‘bear walker’ (or Rehabilitator). This companionship enables the young bear to adapt to living in the wild and develop the foraging skills necessary to survive, while also functioning to establish a forest territory for the bear. Previous sun bear releases suggest that human presence during this critical time helps to deter wild bears from displacing or attacking the young naïve cubs during the rehabilitation process.
The Rehabilitator will work closely with local staff, sun bear caregivers, and the Sun Bear Reintroduction team. OFI is currently looking for rehabilitators to bond with one or more small bears to then accompany them to the forest rehabilitation site for 6-12 months. The entire reintroduction process could take anywhere up to 2-3 years so those willing to commit to longer periods are welcome. Rehabilitators will be expected to work within the existing reintroduction team but must be aware changing conditions could result in working alone in the forest for some periods.
The Sun Bear Rehabilitator’s in-field responsibilities include:
In field training will be provided by the current sun bear rehabilitators as the start date for this position is ASAP. The most important factor to success in this position is a genuine desire to establish an intense bond with the bear cub and commit to this relationship. With limited guidance and a very flexible training period it will be much up to the Rehabilitator and local OFI management to decide when the cub/Rehabilitator partners are ready to be moved to the forest release site. It must be noted that the cub will be naturally wary of strangers and it will take some time before the cub is comfortable with a new person, so a period of intense adjustment must be expected. It is possible rehabilitators will be brought in to continue with the rehabilitation of a bear already in the forest. This would require working closely with existing reintroduction team currently in the forest and would be up to this team in collaboration to decide duties and work/ “walk” schedule after training period.
General Skills and Characteristics:
Dr. Galdikas is a well-known primatologist specializing in orangutan research who has devoted the last forty-two years to the study and protection of wild orangutans. As the President of Orangutan Foundation International, she is responsible for 180 Indonesian employees, 330 orphan orangutans, 6,000 wild orangutans, and 1,800 square miles of protected forest. In addition to her busy schedule of speaking engagements, fundraisers, and conferences around the world,Dr. Galdikas divides her time between Camp Leakey and the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Borneo, Indonesia, and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver where she is a full professor and the administrative offices of OFI in Los Angeles.
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.
The successful candidate for this position will have the following attributes:
The Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine is staffed by two full-time, Indonesian veterinarians. However, we will sometimes accept qualified veterinarians, especially with primate experience, for medium to long term internships at the OCCQ. Please contact our Volunteer Team (email@example.com) with your CV and a short cover letter, if you would like to be considered for veterinary volunteering at the OCCQ.
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The Orangutan Foundation International Field Volunteer Coordinator is a position well-suited to energetic, outgoing, and adaptive individuals. The Field Volunteer Coordinator will gain an applied experience in field conservation and outdoor leadership.
This position is based in the Central Kalimantan village of Pasir Panjang and works closely with OFI’s local and North American staff, Volunteer Committee, and volunteer field team. We are interested in finding someone willing to make a significant commitment to our volunteer program as well as making a greater contribution to OFI in the future. This position is an excellent way to make a concrete contribution to field operations while learning in depth about OFI`s conservation, rehabilitation, and research efforts, as well as Borneo’s ecology, culture, and political climate.
OFI runs two volunteer programs: Long Term Volunteers (6 month positions in Communications, Orangutan Enrichment/Release, Sun Bear Rehabiltiation/Husbandry, and Veterinary Assistants) and Short Term (Construction Teams lasting 2-3 weeks). We are looking for someone to manage the field aspects of both programs. Responsibilities include handling logistical arrangements, acting as a mentor and facilitator to new volunteers and a liason between volunteer and staff, and keeping accounts and records as necessary. The Coordinator should be prepared to advise volunteers directly on both professional and personal issues, or be able to find the staff-person most qualified and available to help the volunteer. The Coordinator will report to both Dr Birute Galdikas and to the Volunteer Committee in North America, keeping all parties updated as to events in the field, and acting on their directives at critical junctures.
The Field Volunteer Coordinator should be familar with all the volunteer positions, understanding the job descriptions, requirements, and daily tasks. (As the Enrichment/Release position often requires the most involvement, candidates with experience in Animal Enrichment and Animal Husbandry are preferred.) The job descriptions are each very broad, including more tasks than a single person can accomplish. The intention is that each volunteer finds a focus/specialty suited to their skill-set and temperament. Often, volunteers have been accepted with specific assignments in mind relevant to their background. At other times, urgent need and extenuating circumstance requires adjusting volunteers’ focus or reassigning roles. The Coordinator should be part of such discussions with the Committee and Dr. Galdikas. It is the Coordinator’s responsibility to communicate assignments to the volunteers and ensure that they are comfortable with what they are asked to do, supported in learning and undertaking all tasks, and fully understand the expectations.
one year (minimum)
Applications accepted until position filled/rolling
The Dayak village of Pasir Panjang is a 15 minute drive from the small city of Pangkalan Bun. The city has a small airport and is situated in the south of the province of Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia. OFI`s Orangutan Care Centre and Quarantine is located in the village of Pasir Panjang. The Coordinator will live in a home-stay in Pasir Panjang (rent will be paid by OFI). 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. The Coordinator will accompany the Construction Teams to other field sites and stay there for the duration of the construction projects. Living arrangements depend on the project of the construction team. Regardless of this, conditions are basic, with limited running water, sometimes no electricity, and occasionally no cell service or internet access
The Care Center facility operates around the clock all days of the week. Volunteers are expected to work approximately the same hours as the majority of the staff (8am-4pm) six days a week (day off flexible). The Coordinator is expected to be present the same hours, but they will also need to be available/contactable at all time to volunteers and staff. There will be ocassional demands outside of normal working hours as meetings with Dr Galdikas generally take place in the evenings and Skype calls to other countries must be arranged around time-zones.
In order to truly be successful in this position the Coordinator must be open minded, learn quickly and have a genuine passion for working with people. In addition, the Coordinator will need to be capable and willing to make themself an exemplary example of appropriate behaviour and conduct; they must be sensitive to how their actions and attitude are interpreted in the cultural context and must be comfortable in an environment with no clear line between work and personal life.
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