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Sonny’s Indonesia Experience

Sonny R.
Volunteer Name:Sonny R.
Project Attended:Orangutan, Sun Bear and Wildlife Rescue Centre
Country Attended:Indonesia
What made you choose the Orangutan, Sun Bear and Wildlife Rescue Centre project in Indonesia? I really have a love for animals and to have an opportunity to visit an exotic country whilst caring for really amazing creatures seemed like a blessing. Reading more about the programme for the rescue centre project felt like it was a great cause that I really wanted to be a part of. Also encountering and caring for exotic animals such as the orangutang as well as cassowaries, sun bears and macaques is an experience that I will never forget.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role on the project? Working hours were from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was tough waking up in the morning but it was so worth it. We were put into either ’team primates’ or ‘team birds’ and would focus on caring for the animals depending on which team we were on. In the morning we would search for sustenance such as grass, leaves and berries for the animals, this was called ’browsing’. This was usually done in the early morning before temperatures raised in the afternoon. I also took part in creating ‘enrichments’ for the animals. This is a way of feeding the animals so they have to work a bit themselves to access the food. So for example, when making enrichments for birds bamboo was chopped down and cut into segments, then I drilled holes in various points of the bamboo then inserted bird seeds into the holes to make it a bit more challenging for the birds to eat. ‘Enrichments’ is a real creative way to feed the animals and allows them to use their skills to search for food.
Can you tell us about your experience in your accommodation? The accommodation was great. It was a nice space to relax in when not working, and a good space to socialise with the other volunteers. There was always clean water to drink, food was served everyday and all the volunteers were encouraged to keep it clean and tidy.
What does travelling as a volunteer mean to you vs travelling as a tourist? I think depending on what you aim to gain from travelling as a tourist it can be interesting and informative, however, for me personally at this point in my life travelling as a volunteer is a way more fulfilling experience. I feel that getting involved in a cause that you believe in and helping to make a difference by volunteering is a unique experience that can only make you a better person. I feel that travelling with a purpose has exposed me to a way of travelling I never really considered before but now I’d like to do as much as possible.


“It really is an unbelievable experience. If you have the time and the money to do so then I would say it is 100% worth it. Volunteering is a unique experience that everybody should have especially if it is a programme that really excites you. You’ll get to meet other like-minded people from around the globe coming together with a common interest. Not only is it a fantastic life experience but on a side note it looks great on your C.V. I think it demonstrates you are capable of working hard in a completely foreign environment and getting involved in causes that matter to you. A quality which I am sure future employers value.”