The symbol of Langkawi is the eagle. In fact, ‘lang’ is the shortened version of ‘helang’, the Malay word for eagle. So how could we go to Langkawi and not see some eagles?
We booked a mangrove swamp tour to have a look at some eagles and to also view the mangroves, an important ecological system, up close. We had booked the tour with Junglewalla as their tours – though a little pricey they have a reputation for being eco friendly and their tour guides well versed with the flora and fauna in the area.
A taxi picked us up from Temple Tree and off we headed to the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park which is around the Tanjung Rhu area. Our guide, Juyi and boat man greeted us and off we went with 2 other passengers.
Off on the mangrove swamp tour
Our knowledgeable guide, Juyi
Our boat wended its way through the mangrove swamps as Juyi pointed out various mangrove species and explained how the mangrove has adapted to its environment.
Mangroves are important in maintaining the ecology of our coastal areas
The yellow leaf is the mangrove’s unique way of filtering out the salt water from its system.
There were a couple of stops planned for this tour. The first was to view some macaques around the river bank. Juyi discourages feeding them as it disrupts the ecosystem – the monkeys will start viewing humans as ‘food givers’ and will then rank us lower than them in their hierarchy. Other tour operators encourage feeding and the monkeys were swimming up to their boats and climbing in. Sure, it is entertaining but occasionally monkeys do drown as they swim too far out. The monkeys will also become increasing dependent on food handouts and this will unbalance the ecosystem in that area.
Being the inexperienced nature photographers that we are our animal related photographs are not great… see if you can actually see the monkeys…. :)
The second stop was to see the eagles. These majestic creatures soar in the air, occasionally coming down to snatch up a fish. As this event is not frequent enough for the tour operators, they have taken to putting out friend chicken skin to tempt the eagles down so that the tourists can see these birds swoop down. This is reprehensible on so many levels: