Great Ape Careers: Dr. Birute Galdikas is seeking an intern to support orangutan conservation

3 April 2016 Jobs

Assistant to Dr. Birute Galdikas, Internship (STIPEND)


Hiring Organization:
Orangutan Foundation International

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Dr. Galdikas is a well-known primatologist specializing in orangutan research and conservation who has devoted the last forty-three years to the study and protection of wild orangutans. As the President of Orangutan Foundation International, she is responsible for 180 Indonesian employees, 330 orphan orangutans, 6,000 wild orangutans, and 1,800 square miles of protected forest. In addition to her busy schedule of speaking engagements, fundraisers, and conferences around the world, Dr. Galdikas divides her time between Camp Leakey and the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ) in Borneo, Indonesia, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver where she is a full professor, and the administrative offices of OFI in Los Angeles. The primary role of the OFI Intern is to help Dr. Galdikas manage all her professional and personal commitments that are challenged by Dr. Galdikas’ demanding schedule, constant travel, and intense commitment to all aspects of the organization.


Interns act as a conduit between Dr. Galdikas and the many OFI stakeholders, including donors, staff, and volunteers who are spread across various continents and timezones. Interns may also be involved with work to support Dr. Galdikas' future research publications. Interns will gain experience with public relations, fundraising and donor communication, developing platforms and strategies for activism and public policy initiatives, and daily operations at the field-site including purchasing supplies, managing inventory, geographical and environmental surveys. There will be an opportunity for hands-on involvement with the orangutans and other ex-captive animals being rehabilitated at the Care Center, including behavioral and dietary enrichment, health checks, and more.

Central responsibilities include helping Dr. Galdikas in day-to-day activities and commitments, keeping track of approaching deadlines and helping Dr. Galdikas meet them, maintain contact with staff, donors, volunteers, board and other stakeholders, and taking menial and repetitive tasks off her hands.

Daily tasks are highly variable. Interns may be asked to assist with any and all aspects of OFI’s work. Those listed below represent only some of the more common tasks.

Work plan:

1) To aid Dr. Galdikas however needed in daily tasks:
- Providing general clerical and computer assistance, including data entry, scanning, proofreading and formatting documents.
- Keeping track of deadlines and schedules, drawing Dr. Galdikas’ attention to upcoming and pressing issues.
- Travelling with Dr. Galdikas to help with logistics, heavy lifting, etc.
- Driving to appointments, to and from airports, accompanying her to public events.
- Organizing physical documents.
- Preparing slides for lectures, locating information and photographs, etc.
- Drafting documents and correspondence for Dr. Galdikas to help expedite her input on pressing and important public communication and donor/supporter relations.

2) To facilitate coordination between OFI’s various locations and teams:
- Communicating from the field to the administrative branches and vice-versa.
- Keeping track of the editorial process, including which drafts are approved and which are undergoing revision, which are appropriate for various purposes and audiences.
- Providing all branches of OFI with Dr. Galdikas’ feedback on various projects.

Volunteering with Orangutan Foundation International (OFI)

Orangutan Foundation International protects 6,000 wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Facilities include 16 guard posts throughout the park and numerous staffed feeding stations in addition to the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine (OCCQ), which rehabilitates 330 young orangutans and prepares them for return to the wild. The majority of individuals are under 10 years old. The Center consists of a central clinic and units housing the older individuals, while the outlying juvenile units and the medical quarantine facility are set in the surrounding 80 hectare forest. Most of the orangutans are very well-habituated to humans. They arrive in the OCCQ by confiscation from homes, black markets, entertainment industry, and abusive zoos.

Volunteering for OFI can have a big impact on your life and on the lives of the thousands of orangutans we fight to protect. Each year, OFI is grateful to receive many kind inquiries from volunteers willing to spend weeks, months, even years in Kalimantan, helping at the Orangutan Care Center or in Tanjung Puting National Park. For our successful long-term volunteers, OFI is pleased to be able to offer letters of reference that will serve as testimony of their dedication to our organization and the quality of the contribution they have made to our cause. Volunteers are expected to submit a final report on what they have learned, experienced, and accomplished during their tenure with OFI.

Life at the OCC&Q:

The OCCQ is situated in the village of Pasir Panjang, a fifteen-minute drive from the small city of Pangkalan Bun. This city has an airport and is situated in the south of the province of Kalimantan Tengah, Borneo, Indonesia. Volunteers work on a daily basis at the OCCQ in Pasir Panjang. Most of the locals speak rudimentary or no English. Languages are Indonesian and local Dayak dialect. The staff working hours are 8:00 to 16:00, with a lunch break at around noon. If desired, the volunteer may take one day off a week.

Living arrangements are typically with a local family homestay. Living conditions are basic, with limited running water, no landlines or internet (although wireless USB modems can be bought in Pangkalan Bun and internet cafes are available in the city as well). The quality of care in the homes varies, from simple room accommodation to cooking and laundry provided. OFI makes an effort to arrange homestays for all its interns and volunteers, but there is an element of unpredictability in any such arrangements. In case of emergency, hotel/motel accommodations are present in Pangkalan Bun and even closer to Pasir Panjang.

Logistics & Arrangements
- Interns receive a stipend of $5,000 per annum.
- All expenses in Borneo are covered (including air travel to and from the intern’s country of origin and Borneo).
- Accommodation is provided
in Vancouver, share comfortable suburban house with Dr Galdikas
in LA, probably stay in LA office (adjacent to Dr G’s home)
in Indonesia, stay in homestay family in Pasir Panjang village
often share hotel rooms when travelling with Dr. Galdikas
(Note: Since lodging is frequently with Dr. Galdikas, female candidates are strongly preferred.)
- No health insurance or other benefits are available.
- Working hours are extremely variable.

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