Orangutan Project is a Malaysian conservation organisation and UK based charity. Founder and CEO Leo Biddle started Orangutan Project in 2006. Leo has over 20 years experience working in the conservation sector in the developing world and is one of the pioneers of truly ethical wildlife tourism.
Leo set up a volunteer project at Matang Wildlife Centre, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Volunteers pay to participate and those funds are used to better the lives of the animals at the centre. This has been our longest running project and continues to be successful 12 years on. At Matang we work closely in partnership with Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) who hold the overall responsibility for the centre. The aim of our volunteer project at Matang is to provide the best possible care that we can for the animals who have found themselves at the sanctuary / rehabilitation centre. The money volunteers pay goes predominantly towards providing food, vet care and enrichment for the animals. Volunteer funds have also allowed us to undertake construction projects and hence make significant improvements to the infrastructure of the animal areas.
Although hugely valuable it can be argued that our work at Matang is more about animal welfare and rehabilitation outcomes than it is about conservation. Being a conservation company is no easy task, and conservation of endangered wildlife certainly won’t be achieved by only helping the rehabilitation centres themselves. Therefore, we continuously strive to create new, innovative and original projects that can provide sustainable solutions to some of the problems faced by animals and ecosystems on Borneo.
Oranguatan Project also runs an eco-tour which visits some of the most glorious national parks in Sarawak. We are passionate about wildlife conservation and this “volun-tour” invests in local communities whilst providing participants with a very unique and low-impact way to experience the natural beauty of Borneo. The funds generated by this ethical tourism support a sustainable way of life for both wildlife and communities.
With our volunteer project at Matang and our eco tour running very successfully we decided to add another facet to our organisation- fundraising businesses.
In 2013 we invested in our first business, MonkeeBar. Following MonkeeBars’ success we opened two more businesses. Our businesses operate as for-profit business with one fundamental difference- we donate our entire share of the profits to conservation and animal welfare causes.
With money raised through our volunteering projects, eco-tour and businesses we are able to fund wider work throughout Borneo, either undertaken by us or by trusted NGO and charity partners.