You are here

Responsible Volunteering

Responsible Volunteering

It is important for everybody to become connected to the issues facing humanity and the planet, and empowered to realise solutions.  APE has developed volunteer programs to achieve this goal.  Volunteers or participants pay money to fund the enhancement of ongoing conservation projects and physically contribute in the implementation thereof with their manpower in activities such as interpretation, husbandry, enrichment, infrastructure building, rehabilitation and release of animals, habitat restoration as well as community involvement and education.

APE terms this “connecting everyday people to endangered animals “.  The volunteers/participants have the unique opportunity to experience first-hand the social and environmental issues of that project, and form an appreciation of the realities of conservation and human development. Ultimately, volunteers/participants relate their experiences back to their everyday lives, broadening their understanding and cultural horizons, and giving them further opportunities to make a difference in their lives.

Sign up for a programme now:



General Information

Participation Terms & Conditions



APE Malaysia projects are not tours.  APE Malaysia projects have specific animal welfare, community and habitat restoration outcomes that need to be achieved and participants will partake and contribute towards achieving these objectives.  APE Malaysia projects are fun and fulfilling because the projects make a real difference not only while you are on the project but also in the long term even after you leave.  We strive to ensure learning, contribution and satisfaction levels are very high on every project.

Our projects have targets and schedules that need to be followed.  Your participation and contribution is key to a successful project because project site partners have high expectations of APE Malaysia participants – YOU. Therefore participants are expected to contribute their best while on the project.  The best experience for participants is created when you bring positive energy and put in everything you can.

You will work hard, get dirty and sweat a lot, but we think that you will enjoy every second of it.



1.      Project Coordinators

APE Malaysia projects are fully supervised by APE Malaysia Project Coordinators who are passionate individuals with vested interest in the animals, people and environment they work in. 


a.      The Project Coordinators will be working alongside you on a daily basis and are responsible to ensure that:

i.      Health & safety of standards and practices are 

ii.     Work targets are achieved;

iii.    Full briefings,  training and guidance are provided onsite;

iv.    Participants have an awesome experience.

b.      Participants are welcome to share and debate ideas but agree to take all final instructions from the Project Coordinators and respect their decisions while on projects;

c.       Project Coordinators are NOT tour guides or guest relationship managers.  We will work to make sure that participants are comfortable.  We can advise on off-day activities but the arranging of logistics and cost of those activities are the responsibility of the participant.  If they do take the extra step to help you during your stay, they are doing it because you are a kind and hardworking participant and they have chosen to share their time with you.

2.      Project Duration, Dates & Days

a.      Project duration ranges between 12 days to 3 months;

b.      Project Dates differ from project to project.  Please refer to the Project Manual and the Project Date Chart for details;

c.       Arrival Day: The first day of the project is the day you are expected to arrive.  Arrival transfer is provided from the nearest airport if accurate arrival details have been provided;

d.      Project Days:  Participants will be expected to work up to 8 hours a day on designated projects.  Goals and outcomes will be clearly outlined.  Participants will be expected to put in their best and be part of a team to make the project a success.

e.      Off Days: Participants are given days off on projects lasting longer than 12 days.  Participants will not be working on these designated days and can choose to travel and explore the surrounding areas at their own expense;

f.        Departure Day: The final day of the project is the day you are expected to fly off / leave the project and project accommodation.  Departure transfer is provided to the nearest airport if accurate departure details have been provided.

3.      Project Manual

a.      A detailed Project Manual will be sent to participants upon confirmation of placement;

b.      This Project Manual will have all the details you will require to prepare you for your project including pick up and arrival details, itinerary, packing suggestions, Dos and Don’ts, vaccination requirements etc.

4.      Insurance and Health & Safety

a.      There are inherent risks in working with wildlife in captivity and in the tropical rainforests where there are numerous wildlife both known and unknown.  Participants that sign up for the project are aware of these risks and will ensure they are healthy enough to contribute positively to the project.  Participants will also be expected to behave in a responsible manner to reduce such risks;

b.      Signing on as a participant is entirely at the participant’s own risk. Having a valid personal insurance policy to cover emergency or health treatment is a pre-condition to participation.  Proof of this must be provided to the Project Coordinator on site.  APE Malaysia will not be held responsible for any injury, death, loss or damage to participants or their property. 

c.       Participants are responsible for any loss and/or damage to their personal property, and damages cannot be claimed in any eventuality.

d.      Participants on APE Malaysia projects agree that they:

i.      will not interact in any way with animals and/or wildlife without the express permission and supervision of the Project Coordinator;

ii.      are aware that there are inherent risks in working with wildlife in captivity and in the tropical rainforests and will thus behave in a responsible manner to reduce such risks;

iii.     will take instructions from Project Coordinators to ensure Health & Safety standards are met;

iv.     will not wander into the rainforest without guidance;

v.      will respect the local culture and traditions and behave in a locally acceptable manner in both attire and conduct;

vi.     will be on time for all activities and adhere to the set working time and off days;

vii.    will contribute positively to the team and the project;

e.      All participants on APE Malaysia projects accept that they are solely responsible for their own health, safety and belongings and that they fully understand and accept the conditions outlined above. All participants are required to sign a disclaimer and provide emergency contact information before the start of the projects.

5.      Meals and Accommodation

a.      Accommodation is shared.  Single accommodation may be available depending on project sites and subject to extra charges;

b.      Meal plans vary according to project sites and facilities.  Self-catering options come with an equipped kitchen and nearby shops for groceries.  Other options are to have meals at local food stalls.  Catered projects will be serving local meals cooked by villagers.

c.       Participants with dietary needs on catered projects must take into consideration that such dietary needs may not be met due to local availability, and must be prepared to make adjustments accordingly.  Vegetarian diets are catered to.

6.       Airport Meet & Greet

a.       APE Malaysia will only pick up from airports on the first day of the project and only if ACCURATE flight details have been provided at least 14 days prior to the project start date;

b.      Any deviation from the flight details provided will result in extra charges to be borne by the participant;

c.       Flight details required for pick up at the arrival airport:

i.      Airline

ii.     Flight number

iii.    Departure details: date, time, airport

iv.    Arrival details: date, time, airport

d.      There may be more than one airport in your destination city hence the right airport is crucial to ensure a timely pick up;

e.      Airport transfer is available only on the last day of the project.  Flight details are to be provided in advance.  Airport transfers are not available on other days;

f.        Airport pickups and drop-offs are only available for airports in Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan unless otherwise mentioned in the project manual.



1.      Participants to APE Malaysia projects come from all over the world and range from various backgrounds.  We welcome people from all walks of life and professions.  All we require is a passion for animals, people and the environment, the willingness to work towards the project goals and an open mind.   You do not need a specific background because our dedicated Project Coordinator will guide you the entire way;

2.      The working language is English. All communication between APE Malaysia and participants will be conducted in English.  The local working language may differ depending on project sites;

3.      Participants must be:

a.      18 years and above (except family projects);

b.      Able to contribute to the project physically;

c.      Willing to abide by local customs and traditions;

d.      Full of initiative, able to work independently and with a team;

e.      Friendly, hardworking and willing to get really sweaty and dirty.

4.      Participants are responsible for flights to and from the projects, visa application and fees, medical checks and treatments required for the project



1.      Participants shall be on time for all activities and be present on every assigned work day;

2.      Participants on our projects will be in close contact with wildlife, and as wild animals, they can be unpredictable and dangerous, and thus there may be some risk involved.  In order to increase safety, participants agree to:

a.      Follow safety instructions of the Project Coordinators at all times;

b.      Not interact in any way with animals and/or wildlife without the express permission and supervision of the Project Coordinator;

c.      Smoke, eat and drink only at designated areas;

d.      Arrive at work in a healthy and clear state of mind;

e.      Immediately inform Project Coordinators if they feel unwell or unfit for work.

3.      Attire while at work:

a.      Not too loose or too tight.  Comfortable clothing for one to easily manoeuvre in for safety purposes is best;

b.      Pants/trousers that cover the knees for both men and women;

c.      Clothing that covers the shoulders and midriff for both men and women;

d.      Clothing that covers the cleavage for women;

e.      Wellington boots and socks.

4.      Participants will respect local customs and culture in attire and behaviour while on the project site;

5.      In villages people are more conservative and participants are expected to respect their local culture including not behaving in loud and raucous manner and dressing conservatively;

6.      Public displays of affection, loud and explicit behaviours are not allowed while on project and at project sites;

7.      Alcohol & drugs are strictly prohibited on project site and at project accommodation. Drugs are illegal in Malaysia and the use or transport of it carries the death penalty.  Participants will be immediately removed from the projects as a result;

8.      Personal and sexual relationships are prohibited between participants and staff throughout the duration of the project.  Participants will be immediately removed from the projects and staff will lose their job as a result;

9.      Photography is allowed in public areas only.  Photography in restricted areas is strictly prohibited and doing so can result in the immediate termination of the project.

10.  APE Malaysia reserves the right to terminate a participant’s placement, without refund, should any of these conditions be ignored and/or disregarded, intentionally or not.



1.      Project Prices

a.      Prices vary according to projects and duration.  Please contact our agents for details;

b.      All prices are subject to a 6% Goods & Services Tax as imposed by the Malaysian government;

c.      All prices are in Malaysian Ringgit and are subject to change without prior notice.

2.      Placements and Reservations

a.      Reservations of placements are valid for 2 weeks if booked more than 2 months ahead of project start date.  Full payment is required 60 days ahead of project start date;

b.      Reservations are deemed confirmed upon the receipt of RM600 deposit per person per project or RM1,500 per family.  Reservations are automatically cancelled on the 15th day from day of reservation if deposit of RM600 / RM1,500 has not been made;

c.      Reservations made less than 2 months to start of project requires 50% deposit and full payment 30 days from start date;

d.      All bookings are subject to Cancellation Charges;

e.      Changes are not acceptable 30 days from start date.  Changes to a confirmed placement will be subject to Change Fees; 

f.      APE Malaysia makes no guarantees for volunteer placements unless fully paid up 60 days prior to the project

g.     All projects will proceed as confirmed except where affected by natural disasters, political unrests or any other unforeseen circumstances including community or local events over which we have no control;

h.     We reserve the right to cancel or re-book your placement in the event of any natural disasters, political unrests or any other unforeseen circumstances including community or local events over which we have no control;

3.      Payment

a.     Payment is to be made in Malaysian Ringgit;

b.     Payment methods:

i.      Cash via bank transfers;

ii.     Credit card via an online secure link;

c.      Payment account details will be reflected on the invoice;

d.      All related bank transfer fees, transaction charges, credit card levy, exchange rate differences etc. are to be paid in full by the participant;

e.      6% Goods and Services Tax are included in the project price and will be reflected in the invoice;

4.      Cancellation Charges and Change Fees

a.      All bookings are accepted with a deposit of RM600 per person per project or RM1,500 per family.  Any cancellation would result in the loss of the deposit;

b.      Full payment is due 2 months prior to the start date of the programme and the following charges are applicable for cancellations:

§  More than 30 days before start date: Loss of deposit

§  30 days or less before start date: 25% of full project price

§  Less than 10 business days before start date: 50% of full project price

§  Less than 4 business days to start date: 100% of full project price

§  No show/Quit during the project : 100% of full progrproject price

c.       Change Fees: RM100 per change per person per project.