Responsible tourism: Orangutan conservation in Indonesia
The progress of this project is allowing staff and the centre to rescue and care for an increasing number of orangutans, some only tiny infants whose mothers have died trying to protect them, others fully-grown adults that have spent years in confined spaces due to human capture.
This project is working tirelessly towards the completion of a rehabilitation centre for such unfortunate orangutans to find a safe haven, become rehabilitated and hopefully released back into the wild. This centre can only be completed, and subsequently run day-to-day with the help of volunteers. When finished, the centre will be a world-leading orangutan conservation sanctuary, with facilities including large quarantine areas for new arrivals, a fully-equipped veterinary clinic, an education centre, indoor accommodation and an outdoor play-area for infants and spacious, forested enclosures where rescued orangutans can develop the natural skills they will need to survive once back in the wild.
There is a common misconception that volunteering abroad must be a good thing and will positively benefit not just the volunteer but the host community and those involved. Unfortunately this is not always the case. The increased demand for volunteer placements in developing countries has been met by an influx of new projects and volunteer-sending organisations created purely to meet this demand. The result may cause devastating effects to local culture and result in the exploitation of both the volunteer and the host community.
This project strives to adhere to the strict Responsible Travel policy, and has been developed so that it addresses actual local needs and has the community’s needs at its heart. Understanding and respecting the host community is paramount to the success of any project as long term commitment, support and adoption of sound environment, economic and social practices. This project employs as many local people possible, making it sustainable socially as well as environmentally.