Volunteering Solutions offers an amazing Short-Term Volunteering opportunity in Malaysia, where you'll get to spend 2 weeks at a Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
The Sun Bear Conservation Center is based approximately 19 km from Sandakan town. The center currently has 2 bear houses that are housing 28 bears as well as 1.14 hectares of natural forest enclosure where the bears can roam free during the day (and night). As a volunteer for this program, you will need to get down and dirty taking care of the smallest bears in the world, working to clean their dens and creating environmental and food enrichment. In addition to enriching the sun bears living condition, you will learn about sun bears in the stages of rehabilitation and the process of releasing them back into the wild.
Working alongside local people will enable you to experience and understand our Malaysian culture. You will also have time off to explore the beautiful surroundings of Sepilok and nearby towns and wildlife sanctuaries.
Perfect for students and backpackers, this project will give you first-hand international work experience and let you gain an insight about how these animals are conserved and taken care of. It'll be an incredible opportunity for you to understand and compare the situation of captive/rehab sun bears and those with threatened habitats as well as raise awareness on responsible living and traveling among tourists, local community, and students.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
As a volunteer at the Conservation Centre, you'll have to carry out the following tasks:
Animal Husbandry - This involves cleaning the cages and feeding the bears. You will rotate working with different sun bears depending on the needs of the bears. You may not work with sun bears on a daily basis. Some daily maintenance work such as general maintenance (eg: painting) may be included.
Enrichment - The idea of enrichment is to stimulate the animals and improve their living conditions as much as possible, in order to provide them with something closer to their natural habitat. Volunteers will be involved in designing & preparing the enrichment procedures. The effectiveness of the enrichment items on animal's behavior will then be observed.
Construction - As a volunteer, you may be asked to design and work on small construction projects to improve the night dens/enclosures of selected animals. This may include assisting in building new exhibits and extensions to improve the conservation center facilities or improving existing exhibits by adding furniture/painting.
Education - There is an education centre and library at Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Volunteers may be asked to talk to school children and visitors at the centre about sun bears, and how to conserve them. You may also be asked to prepare displays and update the blogs or do data entry of the Bear Behaviour Record & the Weekly Record.
Note: Not all activities will be included on your itinerary. Changes to the activities will occur subject to weather conditions, school calendar, community and project requirements.
Day 1 - Arrival at Sandakan Airport and transfer to accommodation. Meet all your fellow volunteers during the Welcome dinner. A short Briefing Session will be held on this day.
Day 2 - Transfer to Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Orientation Session, details about the place, safety tour of the center.
Day 3 to Day 13 - Project work at the Center. Work hours: From 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (with a lunch break in between).
You’ll be free on the weekends, to explore by yourself!
Day 14 - Check out and transfer to Sandakan Airport.
Arrival & Departure Information:
The nearest airport to the project is Sandakan Airport (SDK), which is a domestic airport. Hence, you'll have to book your flights to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA/KLIA2) or Kota Kinabalu International Airport, and then take another flight to Sandakan Airport.
Accurate flight details (flight number, airline, departure city, time of departure and arrival) are crucial to ensure pick up at the correct time.
Make sure that your flight arrives before 4:00 PM on the arrival date, and on the departure date, book a flight that departs after 11:00 AM from Sandakan Airport.
You'll be provided with dorm-style accommodation, where you need to share a room with one person, based on the same-gender basis. There are shared warm water showers and toilets. A communal kitchen and basic cooking facilities are available. The washing machine is also available.
Note: Single Room subject to availability for an extra cost - please let us know beforehand, in case you want a private room for yourself.
Dates & Cost
Select Your currency
Please Note: -An application fee of $250 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
Please Note: -An application fee of £205 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
Please Note: -An application fee of $360 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
Please Note: -An application fee of €225 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we serve on first come first basis, it is recommended that potential volunteers book their programs well in advance to get confirmed placements. You can book your slot by filling the application form online and pay the application fee of $250. You can pay your program fee later and also, in installments. However, the complete payment should be made 45 days prior to the starting of the program. If you are volunteering in a group, you can also fill a group application form.
After you complete your application, your personalized ‘My Account’ will be activated. You will need to upload your CV/Resume along with your photo in the same. Our backend team and the placement site takes around 10-12 days to review your application. After we review your CV and documents, your booking is confirmed and booking confirmation is updated in your ‘My Account’. Some projects need a mandatory criminal background check and the same is mentioned in the project info of your program. Approval of your application depends on your qualification and eligibility criteria for each project.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 10+ years, we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as groups of colleagues.
Yes, it would be great if you choose to be a volunteer for more than one program in Malaysia. Since all the programs are related to nature and wildlife, you'll be able to gain a more meaningful insight about the entire work and be able to contribute more effectively if you are staying for longer.
If you are planning to come for multiple programs in your trip, you will have to pay the application fees just once. Your application fee is valid for a year's time (from the date of application). You will not have to pay the application fees again if you come within the mentioned time frame.
For our returning volunteers, $50 discount is provided for the application fee for their next VolSol program.
As a part of the organization's safety policy, volunteers are not allowed to have direct contact with the animals, however, you'll have ample scope to see the animals in the wild and observe them closely. Know that the animals' behavior cannot be predicted, and thus, we avoid and warm you to get physically closer to them.
All travelers need to acquire a visa from a Malaysian Diplomatic Mission in their respective countries unless they are nationals of the visa exempt countries. Nationals of a few countries are eligible to apply for e-Visa. A Malaysian e-Visa is valid for up to 3 months and an e-Visa holder is entitled to stay up to a maximum of 15 or 30 days for each visit in Malaysia.
Yes, for all volunteers it is mandatory to have a travel medical insurance. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
Like all of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is also very safe and forward-thinking country with travelers from around the world paying a visit throughout the year. The volunteers are, however, advised to travel in groups, not venture alone at nights and take the basic safety precautions. All volunteers must consult the coordinators (available 24/7) before planning a night out.
Your coordinator will meet you at the airport and will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to our team and other volunteers. You will then be provided with a detailed Program Orientation. We shall provide you with all the guidance to reach the program location.
The country experiences a tropical climate, hence you should be prepared for the rains in Malaysia. With an annual rainfall in excess of 2500mm in many areas, getting wet is inevitable. The wet season (monsoon) lasts from November to March, with November being the wettest month of all. May to September are the summer months and the best time to volunteer. However, you can plan your trip at any time of the year, and experience the beauty of nature!
You will need to carry extra money for personal expenses, add-on tours, eating out while traveling in Malaysia. For basic personal expenses, a budget of 25-35 USD per week is more than sufficient barring the extra costs of add-on activities. If you’re planning on using credit/debit card in Malaysia, it is advised to let your bank know about your travels beforehand so that they don’t suspicious of your account activity. We also advise all our participants to keep an emergency fund of 200 USD only to be used in case of any emergencies, if one arises.
Team Volunteering Solutions would get back to you within
One working day.
If you are using Gmail, do not forget to check your spam
folder. Put the email in inbox or create a
filter for Volunteering Solutions to stay updated.
If your query is urgent,
may call us at :- US 1- 888-790-3096 / UK 0- 800-014-8160 Email us
at [email protected]
How To Apply
Login To Volunteering Solutions
Select Your Destination & Project
Fill the Application Form & Make Payment to Secure your place