« Photo of the Week | Main | Into the Wild Meets: NHU Africa »

Project of the Week: Indonesia Orangutan Conservation

This week’s project of the week is the Indonesia Orangutan Conservation project. So we thought we’d take a look at this amazing country to bring you all the best things to do, see and eat... 

Visiting Indonesia

Indonesia is a mesmerising land of archipelagos rippling across the equator. This collection of 17,000 islands is brimming with culture, spice and tradition and from the humble backpacker to the affluent holiday-maker, Indonesia welcomes them all. For backpackers Kalimantan is the place to go whist for those who have a little more money in their pockets the tranquil resorts of Bali are the ideal pampering spot.

Other must visit places include the Lombok, a surfers hotspot, the volcanic lakes of Sumatra and the deeply etched gorges of the Baliem Valley. Indonesia also boasts amazing wildlife with the jungles concealing impish monkeys, stoic sun bears, leopards, orangutans and much much more besides. For those looking to get off the beaten track there are large areas of the archipelago with a wealth of culture and beauty just waiting to be explored.   

Frontier’s Project

Both the Sumatran and Bonean orangutan are at severe risk of going extinct as deforestation rages in its last remaining habitat. Historically this species was found throughout South East Asia – a stark contrast to the isolated populations now found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Relentless hunting and habitat loss pose the greatest threat to orangutan numbers with the population falling by 46% between 1992 and 1999.

In the past 20 years approximately 80% of the orangutan’s habitat has been lost due to illegal logging, forest fire, gold mining and conversion of land to permanent agriculture. In addition the capturing of orangutans for the illegal pet trade is putting extra strain on the populations. Volunteers are vital to the work we’re carrying out in Indonesia to help protect and preserve the orangutan species from extinction. As a volunteer you will be directly involved in our work as we are looking for people to help observe and track wild orangutans and collect and process data from the rainforest as part of important research.

Out on the project volunteers will learn about the ecology of the rainforest biome and orangutan behaviour and ecology first hand whilst trekking with our knowledgeable guides.  In exchange for your help the project offers the rare opportunity to explore primary rainforest and all its inhabitants in one of the most beautiful places in the world. This project is both exciting and educational with volunteers spending time out in the forest and at the base camp.

In the forest volunteers will be involved in locating areas with significant wild orangutan populations, find and follow orangutans for individual identification and collect behavioural data and plant and fecal samples. In addition volunteers will carry out nest counting and conduct fruit trail transects in order to assess the orangutans available food supply. At the base camp volunteers will be involved in behavioural data entry, processing, cataloguing fecal and plant samples, updating weather and climate data and preserve and prepare plant species in the herbarium.

Other activities include helping with the maintenance of headquarters and project equipment, shopping for project supplies in the local town and brainstorming ideas to help the project’s promotion and operation.

Top Places to Visit


Kalimantan is one of Indonesia’s least visited provinces and represents somewhat of a void on the tourist radar. As a result it’s an appealing place for those back packers hungry for adventure. The mighty mountain, luscious forests and winding rivers thread their way through the heart of Kalimantan province influencing the culture, history and livelihoods of all that dwell within. With illegal logging and mining now taking hold of the region, travellers should get there quick before Kalimatan’s hidden world disappears completely. Dawn canoe rides to Banjarmasin’s floating markets and dusk journeys through its enigmatic travellers are a must for all.

Photo courtesy of 710928003

The Baliem Valley:

The Baliem Valley is a gateway to tribal Papua. The fields bloom with flowers and deep purple sweet-potato fields. In August visitors will be treated to a spectacular display when Warmena and nearby villages host a festival filled with pig feasts, mock wars and dancing. The rest of the time visitors can marvel at the mountain views, the roaring rivers and enthralling local markets. 

Photo courtesy of @haddock (away)

Danau Toba:

Lake Toba is Southeast Asia’s largest volcanic lake and is renowned as being Sumatra’s prettiest lake. The lake is an amazing setting with the mountains studded around the horizon and the clean fresh air intoxicating your body and in addition to all that you get to experience the town of Toba. This town with its relaxed atmosphere is home to the Batak people and their fascinating culture and there’s always a glass of jungle juice waiting for you. Toba was once home to Thailand style full moon parties and packed with backpackers but has now once again returned to being off the beaten track

Photo courtesy of avlxyz

Recipe: Grilled Fish in Banana Leaves

This is a delicious grilled fish in banana leaf recipe all the way from Indonesia but make sure you’re hungry because this serves 4...


- 4 fish steaks (whatever takes your fancy!)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 teaspoons palm sugar
- 2 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon kencur powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sereh powder
- 2 lemons, sliced thinly
- Banana leaves and aluminium foil for wrapping


  • Clean and wash the fish fillet. Then pat dry with paper towels.
  • Crush the garlic with some of the measured sugar. Combine the sugar, chilies, garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice, sereh powder and kencur powder. Then pour over the fish fillet in a shallow dish and marinate for 30 minutes. 
  • Drain and place each fish steak on a square of washed banana leaf backed with a large square of heavy-duty aluminium foil. 
  • Pour a spoonful of the marinade inside the fish and over the top. Put a few slices of lemon on the fish, overlapping them slightly. Wrap and make a neat parcel. 
  • Grill the fish parcel over glowing charcoals or under a preheated griller for 10 minutes on each side. 
  • Simmer marinade for 2-3 minutes. If necessary, add more water and soy sauce. 
  • Serve the cooked fish in its parcel. Serve with white rice.

By Hannah Jones

For more information on the Indonesia Orangutan Conservation project, or any other opportunities to volunteer abroad with Frontier, please visit our website.

References (7)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: have a peek here
    Wonderful Web-site, Carry on the wonderful job. Thanks a lot!
  • Response
    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Project of the Week: Indonesia Orangutan Conservation
  • Response
    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Project of the Week: Indonesia Orangutan Conservation
  • Response
    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Project of the Week: Indonesia Orangutan Conservation
  • Response
    Response: wisata lombok
    The Gap Year Blog - Into the Wild - Project of the Week: Indonesia Orangutan Conservation
  • Response
    Response: vk.com
  • Response
    How many $$ should I afford for a two week trip?

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>