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Orangutan Encounters

Orangutan Encounters

Programme Objectives

  • Improve conditions of various animals in captivity through creating environment and food enrichment;
  • Work alongside zookeepers to raise the quality of current enrichment and protocol standards in Malaysian zoos;
  • Carry out habitat restoration at the Lower Kinabatangan floodplains where flora and fauna are abundant but threatened by diminishing habitat;
  • Conduct wildlife population density data gathering under the auspices of the Sabah Government;
  • Observe and appreciate the orang-utans, pygmy elephants and other endangered species, understand their life cycles and the intricate biodiversity roles;
  • Work with the local community and students in conservation;
  • Raise awareness on responsible living and travelling among tourists, local community and students;
  • Understand the threats to habitat and wildlife and to make a personal impact, bringing positive change.

Note: Programmes are subject to change depending on community and/or school calendar.  


Duration & Programme Dates

  • 28 days: January - December, starts 5th of each month, ends 28 days later. 


Project Site

This project begins in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia and gateway to the rest of Asia and Southeast Asia. You will then be transfered to Zoo Melaka & Night Safari which is located approcimately 130km from Kuala Lumpur.  After your stint at the zoo, you will then move on to a little village within a beautiful wildlife sanctuary along the Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

You will live within the community of the village, dine with the gentle Orang Sungai or "People of the River" and wake up to the sounds of the rainforest. You will help in the restoration of wildlife habitat and contribute towards the environmental education of the local school children while on this programme.

The entry point to the Lower Kinabatangan is the quaint town of Sandakan, approximately 30 minutes by flight and 6-8 hours overland from Kota Kinabalu, state capital of Sabah. You can also get direct flights into Sandakan from Kuala Lumpur.

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Please be aware that programme and days are subject to change – this itinerary is meant as a guide only. 

Day 1 (D) 

  • Arrive Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) and transfer to dormitory-style accommodation.
  • 1800 hours, meet at lobby for welcome dinner & introduction to the programme.


Day 2 (Meal Allowance)

  • After breakfast, you will be transferred to the project site. You will be be shown your accommodation and a full orientation of the zoo and local landscape will be conducted by our facilitator.


Day 3 - 16 (Meal Allowance)

  • You will work alongside the facilitator and zookeepers to create enrichment and improve vairous aspects of animal welfare. Husbandry will be carried out on a daily basis while mini projects may include construction, design of enclosures, working with children or visitors, research and planting.


Day 17 (Meal Allowance)

  • Final working morning at the zoo. After saying goodby to the animals and zookeepers, you will be sent to the airport for your late evening flight to Sandakan
    Arrive Sandakan Airport (SDK) and transfer to dormitory-style accommodation.


Day 17 (D)

  • Sandakan is a lovely little town that starts becoming lively at 5am. Spend the day exploring its nooks & crannies. Take a walk along the seafront or check out the many old town shops. If you feel adventurous, seek out a sumptuous seafood lunch in one of the water-village restaurants.
    1600 hours, meet at lobby. Transfer to dormitory-style accommodation.
    Welcome dinner & introduction to the 2nd half of the programme. 


Day 18 - 26 (B, L, D)

  • After breakfast, transfer to Project Site.
  • After showing you to your accommodation, your will be given a thorough Health & Safety briefing as well as an orientation around the village.
  • The project involves wildlife observation to collect important wildlife population data. Habitat restoration work involves tree-planting and maintenance activities at high priority areas. These are crucial in connecting fragmented forest in the area to encourage healthy orang-utan and pygmy elephant populations. Community and Education programmes involve interaction with the villagers and the students of the village school.


Day 27 (B, L)

  • Depart for Sepilok. Walk through the Rainforest Discovery Centre to reinforce what you have learned about the rainforest the last few days. After lunch, visit Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre where you will learn about the challenges of orang-utan rehabilitaion. After this learning session, you will head into Sandakan. Check into accommodation. Free at leisure. Try to catch the sunset from the rooftop bar.


Day 28 (B)

  • Check out and transfer to Sandakan Airport.
  • Optional: independent travel to Kota Kinabalu or Turtle Islands 


Photo Gallery



Downloadable Program Details

28 Days-Wild Orangutan Encounters (.pdf) 


Be Part of a Meaningful Conservation Adventure

For more information or to join our programme, contact one of our agents.

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