Jogjakarta Wildlife Centre Volunteering Project

We are glad to announce that Ecoteer Responsible Travel has a new project on board!

The Jogjakarta Wildlife Centre volunteering programme!

This volunteering project focuses on helping orphaned and injured animals back to health and then release it to the wild again. The centre provides the a second chance to the animals poached in the wild rainforest of Borneo.

The centre currently has orangutans, Javan Eagles, gibbons, crocodiles and many other bird species.

One of the best part of this project is that most of the staff of the wildlife centre are locals, so volunteers are able to work with them and spread environmental awareness to the villagers as well. Volunteers will also be teaching the villagers informal English by incorperating wildlife conservation issues too.

Wanna know more about the animals in the rescue centre? Here are some of their stories!

Siamang Gibbons

Some animals have special characteristics such as the Siamang Gibbon. It is one of the native animals on the Sumatra Island. It has a smooth dense black hair and gular sac. This gular sac is on the upper neck and inflates like a balloon when the Siamang Gibbon sings. The callings are territory markers for a group and they are only performed in typical daytime, creating a beautiful choir.

There are 5 male Siamang Gibbons at the centre, Genbi, Cheetah, Mumun, Boy, and Tomang. They were all rescued from illegal keeping.


Cheetah was rescued on September 2nd 2003 from a restaurant on the road edge to a beach at Ciamis, West Java.  It was kept in a small cage, so it couldn’t move freely, though it was nicely treated by the owner.  Cheetah is the oldest Simang Gibbon at the centre.


Tomang was taken from a two storey construction store at Jogja – Wates highway. On the evacuation, Tomang hurt the hand of a rescue team member, so it had to be anesthetized. He loves to eat leaves, such as water spinach, bitter bean leaves, or cabbage.


Mumun was delivered by its owner on January 2nd 2004. Almost every month after, the owner kept on coming to see Mumun. Before Mumum came to the centre its owner had an accident whilst Mumun was on his back.  The accident caused a serious opened abces on his elbow, this was when his owner sought the help of the centre and with long treatment, the wound eventually healed.  Mumun can now swing around again. Mumun never like’s his bucket to be filled with water, so he always empties the bucket every time the animal keeper fills it. Mumun also like to play chase and catch.


Boy is a shy Siamang Gibbon, not an aggressive one. He was seized by Bengkulu’s BKSDA on August 7th 2004. Boy was kept by chain on a tall pole, and had to be anesthetized by blowpipe to evacuate him.


Genby was rescued from Tegal, Centre Java on December 19th 2004. The owner was old and sick (coughing), causing worries that Genby would be infected. So the owner decided to give Genby to the centre. Tegal is a playful Siamang and uses all enrichments to play, including spinning and hanging around on the rubber ropes. Genby also likes leaves so much.

Kalaweit Gibbons & Sumatran Gibbons

Sumatran and Kalaweit Gibbons have magical callings, especially at dawn. This calling is a territory marker in the group. Their hair color varies between black, bright brown, and dark brown. There are 5 Sumatran Gibbons at the centre, which are Tomwek, U’uk, Tungtung, Tomi, and Thole, while the Kalaweit Gibbons are Cempluk and Onyong. Each is put in an enclosure with enrichments inside.


Tomi was seized from a hotel on March 24th 2003. It is a Sumatran Owa, and the first animal in the centre. Tomi is the most attractive male of all Owa in JOC. It loves the stuff worn by the animal keepers, like hats, masks, gloves, and even glasses. Actually Tomi is so cute and obedient, just need to be a little careful he won’t take our stuff.


U’uk was given to the centre by its owner on September 11th 2003. He is the oldest Owa at the centre. U’uk was in a bad condition when he came to centre and continues to be very aggresive.


Tungtung was given to the centre on March 12th 2005, and was given by a Jogjakarta citizen. Tungtung and U’uk have their enclosure next to each other.


Tole was given to the centre on December 23rd 2005. When Tole was given he was just young, only 2 years old. Tole is a male Sumatran Owa with a golden color. Basically, Tole is a cheerful and playful Owa.


The real name is Tomi, because its arrival was at the same time with a public figure called Tomi Soeharto at a village in Sumedang, West Java. But because it’s a female, when it arrived at the centre on September 23rd 2003 it was named Tomwek or Tomi Cewek (female Tomi). The color is bright brown with estimated age more than 10 years old, loves to sing a lot, especially when she sees someone around. Tomwek loves her bucket, and often plays and sleeps in it. Tomwek’s song raising a magical atmosphere in the morning, it’s almost as if you were in the forest.


Cempluk is a female Owa that was given by a citizen from Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta Special Region, on April 21st 2004. On its arrival day, Cempluk was already an adult, so at this time, she was probably more than 10 years old. Her calling songs are so beautiful and unique with treble sound endings, typical to Kalaweit Gibbons. She is so shy, but loves to collect branches and leaves on one of the enclosure’s corner, as if it is a nest. Cempluk also loves to play with branches and leaves by swinging them above the enclosure.


Onyong is a young male Kalaweit Gibbon and arrived on January 13th 2006. He is very tame and likes to play “pretends to pull the hands and fall with a roll”. Onyong was rescued from a village at Sleman, Jogjakarta with typical color of Kalaweit Gibbons, and loves honey from a bamboo stick.

Orang utans

BONI : Charming Means Me

My name is Boni. I’m a male Borneo orangutan. I’m 16th years old  and I live in the Wildlife Rescue Centre, Jogja – Yogyakarta, a centre for rehabilitate Indonesia wildlife by confiscation operation from illegal trade and illegal pets.

I was saved on October 14th 2006 from a village headman in Muntilan – Central Java by a laws enforcement operation. At that time I was just 10 years old. I was kept in a small cage in front of the house, living with me was several animals. My former owner taught me to clean the car and the floor to my cage.  I will still clean my cage if you give me a brush.

When I was saved from my former owner, it was like an action drama. Because my former owner was a hoodlum and a powerful man, the rescue team from Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency (BKSDA) and orangutans activists concern there are negative acts from him after they take me to the centre. But with several police officers guarding the rescue team their fears went.

Now more than five years for me living in the rehabilitate centre, and I still can’t relieve my habit to brushing floor, a habit which is actually not a natural behavior for a large male orangutan like me.

But you know what? I’m a handsome, gentle and spoiled orangutan, but with my big cheek pad and my shiny brown fur, I’m a gorgeous orangutan. And that’s a fact you cannot deny.

Here are other facts about me – Boni the orangutan. I really love plays with car tires and tree log inside my cage. My others favorite are eating bamboo shoots and coconuts. I can peel the coconut only in few minutes. If there’s an orangutans competition for peeling coconuts, I’m sure I will be a champion.

That’s some stories about me – Boni a charming orangutan.

Dedek: There’s A Sweet in Me

My name is Dedek. I’m a Borneo orangutan. I was an orphaned orangutan. After poachers had killed my mother and brought me to Java I was sold to a police officer in Semarang – Central Java. I’m really sad, because I was separated from my mother. I even don’t know my mother anymore. The police officer in Semarang had a mini zoo at his residential complex. There was another Borneo orangutan placed in same cage with me – Gogon was his name. He’s like a brother for me. The police officer usually brought me and Gogon around the area with his motorcycle. Because I was a baby orangutan at that time, my body was still susceptible to illness. In September 22th 2006, me and Gogon was saved by the Central Java Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency. Confiscated by the government from my illegal owner, they brought me to the rescue centre in Yogyakarta. In Indonesia, having or keeping orangutan as a pet is illegal.
In the rescue centre I underwent several medical tests. The results showed that there was a chronic infection which made me grow slower than Gogon.

Now with the time passed by, with routine treatment by Dian my local vet, I’m getting better. Yes, I’m a healthy orangutan, now!

In the centre I was separated from my big bro Gogon. And it made me mourn. Fortunately it did not last long. Now, I stay in the same cage with Gogon. We always share food and toys. Banana’s my favorite.
Wrestling and rolling games are always fun with Gogon. Sometimes I slam Gogon too hard when we are playing, but Gogon never gets mad with me.

Another favorite thing is my orangutan hammock tire, and I wouldn’t share it with Gogon.

Yes, I’m a cute and sweet orangutan. Naughty? No, I just like fun.

That’s some stories about me – Dedek a sweet orangutan.

GOGON : Curious is Me

Hello there! Have you ever heard about orangutans? Endangered species of the great ape family and we’re the only great ape from Asia that still extant, although very apprehensive. There are two orangutan genus; Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan) and Pongo abelii (Sumatran orangutan), and our native habitats are Borneo and Sumatera Island.

Well, that’s a background about orangutan. Now, I want tell you about myself.
My name is Gogon. I’m an orphaned Borneo Orangutan, I am now 13 years old and I haven’t seen my homeland – Borneo  – since I was 2. It’s because I was kept illegally since I was an infant.

A police officer at Semarang – Central Java owned me as his pet. He had a mini zoo in his residential complex, and I was one of his collections. With me, there was another Borneo orangutan – Dedek. Dedek was a baby when kept with the same cage with me. I loved Dedek just like my little sister. My former owner usually took me and Dedek around the residential complex with a motorcycle and gave me candies.

When I was 7th years old, there was a laws enforcement operation by Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency- the Ministry of Forestry of Republic Indonesia. The government confiscated me from my illegal owner and brought me to the rescue centre in Yogyakarta. From that time, I rehabilitate in Jogja Orangutan Centre in the same cage with Dedek.

Not intents to arrogant, but I’m a gallant, clever and cunning orangutan. And handsome orangutan too! I love to explore something new in my cage and using it as a tool. Sometimes I used to escape from my cage, and it will make my keepers annoyed.

Even I’m older and stronger than my little orangutan sister Dedek, I succumb to her more because she’s just like a little sis for me. I always treat Dedek well.

I loved to play in my cage with Dedek. Wrestling and rolling are our favorite game. Sometime when we played – Duo Orangutans games, Dedek without conscious slammed me hard. But it’s not a problem for me, and I’m not angry to him.

That’s some stories about me – Gogon a curious orangutan.

JOKO: On the Moves

I’m cute, active, smart, and a little bit naughty. My name is Joko. I’m an 8 year old male Borneo orangutan. Just like other orangutan that kept by human since a baby, I was an orphaned orangutan. Before being sent to the centre by Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency, I was kept illegally at a restaurant in Solo – Central Java. I was placed in a very narrow cage and showed as a spectacle for the restaurant’s customers. With me, there was a female orangutan – Ucok. I couldn’t play in the narrow cage. At my former place, I smoked cigarettes every night. Well, because my former owner gave cigarette to me.

At my new place I am in the same cage with Ucok – my former partner. Believe me, there’s no cigarette for orangutans anymore in my new place. I really love to tease my animal keeper. Grab something from the animal keeper quickly is my specialty. So they must be very careful and vigilant when near my cage. I also love when the animal keepers are busy all day, because they try to move me to the transfer cage to clean my main cage.

That’s some stories about me – Joko the energetic orangutan.

UCOK: Beautifully Eyes

Hello, my name is Ucok. I’m a 12 year old female orphaned Borneo orangutan. I live in the rescue centre for rehab, and I am hoping someday I can go home to Borneo – my home island.

My new life at the centre began on October 6th 2011. It was the most important time of my life. On that night I was brought by Indonesian Nature Conservancy Agency in a confiscation operation from Solo – Central Java to the rescue centre in Yogyakarta. Yes, as an orangutan, I was kept illegally by my former owner in a restaurant in Solo.

Together with Joko (8 years old) – a male Borneo orangutan, we were kept in cramped cages in the middle of a fish pond and showed as a spectacle for the restaurant’s customers. I have a big belly and people often thought I was pregnant.

Before pregnancy test, I must learn to adapt with the orangutan’s diet menu. It was really hard for me at first, because even though I’m an orangutan, I prefer to eat rice instead of fruits and vegetables. But after two weeks in the centre, I started to like my new menu of fruits and vegetables.

After a few weeks to adapt to my new place, I finally underwent a pregnancy test. Using the ultrasonography machine, the animal keepers held my hands, feet, and my head. It was really strange for me, an orangutan. They put lotion on my stomach and there was a tool they moved around on my stomach. After the test, I heard Dian the rescue centre’s vet said that I’m not pregnant. They called my condition pseudo pregnancy.

Now, I spend my days learning new things, because I must learn to be a real orangutan. There are some toys in my cage. I love to swing. But my favorite is playing with the flowing water pipe, to wash my face, hands and sometimes I even wash my sleeping blanket.

That’s some stories about me – Ucok the beautiful orangutan.


There are 11 eagles from many species at the centre, all were rescued from illegal trading and injuries. Nine of them are eagles which deserve rehabilitation for ultimate release, while 2 of them are disabled and cannot be released. In 2011 we released 2 eagles back to the wild.  Check out our video clips. It is very difficult to change an eagles behavior because of their strong memory. So, if there is any mistake in the behavior treatment, it could cause a failure to the release programme. Some of the eagles are:

Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)

This Black Eagle was turned by citizen of Mount Merapi slope on July 22nd 2003.

The left wing carpal was garroted and has gangrene because it was kept in a small cage, making the eagle disabled and unable to fly, therefore cannot be released. Until now, the injury on this female eagle’s wing sometimes reoccur’s.

Changeable Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus)

A Changeable Hawk-eagle is from a middle age lady from the Central Java region, she cares about wildlife. The lady delivered the eagle herself from her home that was about 150 km north of Jogjakarta. Now, this eagle is being rehabilitated for releasing. The other two are the result of a rescue from illegal trading. Policemen accidentally saved these eagles when they were inspecting the motorcycles on the road. One of the eagles is an infant which certainly still needs maternal care.

Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)

This eagle was evacuated from a Mount Merapi Eruption on October 30th 2010. He was left behind by his owner who sought refuge from the danger zone of Mount Merapi. By the animal volunteers, it was evacuated and given to the rescue centre in a sick and starving condition. With treatments at the centre, the eagle slowly regained health and is now able to catch fish from above his pool.

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)

Both of these eagles are a result of a rescue from illegal trading. Policemen accidentally saved these eagles when they were inspecting the motorcycles on the road. One of them had an eye injury when rescued that caused blindness.

Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

It is an opportunistic eagle and is the symbol of Jakarta, the Capital City of Indonesia. This eagle was also rescued during a Police inspection on motorcycles on the road. Those eagles were going to be sold outside Jogjakarta.

Javan Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi)

It is endemic to Java and can only be found in certain region’s including Mount Merapi forests, about 40 km north of the centre. This eagle was given to the centre by a student after he bought it from a merchant. Because of his awareness, this eagle was given a chance at the centre. It seems this eagle was kept a long time by the merchant and caged in a small area. He has rope marks on both his legs. His beak is elongated like a parrot which means this eagle has never been able to grind it’s beak, maybe because he has been tied on an iron percher for most of his life.

This programme is perfect for any animal lovers who wants to help teach and interact with the local villagers of Jogja.

To know more, visit Jogjakarta Wildlife Rescue Centre or email

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