Our Journeys

Langkawi – Where the Eagles Fly

by Sharm on October 14, 2015 , No comments
Warning: This blog post may be a bit preachy as I have opinions on how we treat the world we live in

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.

langkawi mangrove swamp tour

Off on the mangrove swamp tour

langkawi mangrove 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.

langkawi mangrove tour

Mangroves are important in maintaining the ecology of our coastal areas

langkawi mangrove tour

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.

langkawi mangrove tour

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:

  • Fried chicken skin is NOT a part of the eagles diet.

  • The eagles get full eating this but they get no nutrition. (Even though delicious, how much nutrition does KFC chicken skin have?)

  • The lack of nutrition results in fewer eggs laid and eggs which crack prematurely (owing to low calcium content).

Langkawi eagles mangrove tour

Can you spot the eagles?

All of the above results in fewer eggs and fewer eggs which hatch the results in a rapidly dwindling eagle population. How has this tour operator practice not been banned? Unfortunately in Malaysia we are quite lax about the environment and anything environment enforcement related.

After this, a quick stop by a fishing village for a quick break and managed to have a look at different kinds of fish up close. The tour also took us through a bat-filled cave.

langkawi mangrove tour

A friendly stingray

langkawi mangrove tour

Unfortunately as there are no decent pictures of the bats themselves here is a picture of the end of the cave!

Along the way through the mangrove swamp we also spied a tree snake. (There are no pictures of the snake as we are really atrocious nature photographers…)

If you have happened upon this blog post and if you take away nothing else from it, I hope you be mindful that even the small acts can impact the environment. Wouldn’t you want your children and your children’s children to see the wonderful world that is out there?

langkawi mangrove tour

Why would you not want your children to experience this?

*I will now get off that metaphorical soapbox :)

xx Sharm

JungleWalla tours [Link]

Map of Langkawi’s ecological areas [Link]

SharmLangkawi – Where the Eagles Fly

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