In the Jungle the Mighty Jungle

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September 1st 2010
Published: September 1st 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

It was extremely hard to leave Australia as I have had such an amazing year and met so many lovely people, most importantly I got to meet my partner Benjamin whom I am excited to say is coming over to England in November. But for now, my work visa was running out and I had yet more travel plans arranged so I bid my farewells and boarded a plane to Borneo to fulfill a long time dream. I signed myself up for a 4 week Orangutan Volunteer Program at Matang Wildlife Centre in Kubah National Park.

Matang Wildlife Centre (MWC) is one of the very few orangutan rehabilitation centres in the world. The centres aim is to rehabilitate endangered animals with the eventual release back into the wild where they belong.

MWC not only holds Orangutans that have been rescued from the pet trade or from destroyed habitat but also houses several other animal groups including; sunbears, macaques, binturongs/bearcats, leopard cats, slow lorris, sambar deers, civets, gibbons, cloudy leopard, fresh and salt water crocodiles, all sorts of reptiles and birds. All these animals have either been surrendered into the centre by their owner or confiscated by authorities.

The role of the volunteer is to assist with day to day husbandry duties of cleaning out night dens, to prepare enriching food puzzles to reduce behavioral stereotypy in long term captive animals, to monitor the wellbeing of the animal and learn more about them, and to maintain, paint and construct enclosures. Under no circumstance are we allowed to interaction with the orangutans or any other animal for that matter. Most of the animals at the centre at some point of their lives would have been in very close proximity to humans, many of them genuinely enjoy human company but it is important to get them passed this stage of human dependency/ interaction with the intention of reintroducing them to the wild.

Once I arrived in Matang, I met my fellow volunteers and got allocated to share a house with Mexican Ale and our ready-made family of mama cat with her new born litter of 3! Very cute! There were 7 volunteers in total and our houses (which were a 2 minute walk from the centre) were all next to each other. We sorted out a roster so that each house took turns in cooking so there were 3 houses (2 x 2 x3) so I basically got to cook every 3 days which is good : ) We worked Monday to Friday and had the weekends to travel. Over the weekends we crammed in as much as possible, we treated ourselves to the swimming pool and cocktails at the Village House Resort, threw in a visit to the cultural village, did a boat trip along the croc infested waters and observed the different tribes, went to some wind and fairy caves, saw the Rafflesia flower that can grow upto 80cm, visited some waterfalls, climbed to the summit at Kubah National Park and almost died from altitude sickness, and went to Bako National Park and saw some Proboscis monkeys in our last wend and thought it was the highlight of the trip.

So I have come to the end of my 4 weeks with a whole scrap book of memories, minus a few kilos. Friendships have been made between fellow volunteers and special bonds have been created with the animals. If I had to summarize the highlight of my time on this project, without hesitating I would say would be the time spent observing the animals.

Having never done such volunteer work before has made me appreciate that every little does help. It is an amazingly rewarding experience that has given me a taste for future projects. Organizations such as The Great Orangutan Project only exist through volunteer support. Please check out their website @ and make a difference.

Till next time! Love M. xx

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 24


1st September 2010

Sounds like fun
Hey girly! Sounds like you had a blast! Glad you enjoyed it so much and can tick it off your to do list ;) xxx
1st September 2010

Hello my dear, have loved reading all about your adventures. Looking forward to when you're coming back to England and hope you'll come and stay at mine and we can have a proper catch up xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
1st September 2010

Great experience
A very well done Meltem'cim, thoroughly enjoyed your blog and the photos are lovely. I am sure it has been the kind of an experience that you will always remember the four weeks you spent in that entirely different part of the world. I am very proud of you, lots of love, Xx
1st September 2010

Hi Mel- it was lovely to see your photos and hear how you're going. It sounds like it was the trip of a lifetime for you, but now it's time to go home to Mamma! We are all missing you heaps and hope we get to see you soon, Hugs Mairxxx
2nd September 2010
Me with Baby orphan Simanggang @ Matang Wildlife Centre

Thumbs up
hi...terima kasih atas kerjamu. Teruskan..
4th September 2010

the volunteers
i have nothing but admiration for volunters of all discription,but those who volunteer to help in animal shelters,sanctuaries ect.hold a special place in my heart .It is mainly through mans greed that these magical animals have to live in a sanctuary instead of in thier natural enviroment wild and free as they should be.Being a contributer to the WWF it is good to see the money i donate each month is going to a very very good cause,to all those people involved in the saving of these magnificent animals i have a great Australian saying to pass onto you.....I dips me lid to ya (i take of my hat to you)
6th September 2010

Hey sweetie, great pics and adventures, can't wait to see more video too.. I glad you had a good time, what a wonderful experience to have with so many animals! love you lots Benjamin xxx
12th September 2010

Bear cat with bad dandruff
Wow mate looks like youve had a killer trip out there with my close relatives, hope they treated you nicely... though i heard my uncle Aman will hump anything with 2 feet and a heart beat so i hope you stayed away from him. If you have un-naturally hairy babies were gonna know whats gone on miss! All that pooper scoopin is sure to change a person no doubt, long as you have at least 4 showers between now and when i see you next ill give you a hug.. seeing pics like this makes me jealous, i envy your romp with the natives ! glad you had a great time mate im sure youll remember it for the rest of your life.

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