Saturday, October 4, 2008

Eagle Feeding in Langkawi

The beautiful island of Langkawi got its name from the combination of 'lang' & 'kawi'. 'Lang' from the Malay word helang meaning eagle & 'kawi' from Sanskrit meaning marble.

We got a not so subtle reminder of the origin of Langkawi as soon as we
arrived at the jetty. Beside the jetty stood a gigantic eagle looking out towards the sea, ready to take flight.

Aside from the monument, we did not see any real eagles as we went round the island in our rent Proton Saga.

We even took a cable car ride up Gunung Mat Cincang but at 710 meters above sea level those eagles are still nowhere to be seen! How odd.

That is until we took an island hopping tour. One of the highlights of the tour was eagle feeding. For that we need to take a bumpy speedboat ride to the nearby island of Pulau Singa Besar.

However before we set off, I am keeping my expectations real low.

I was expecting eagle feeding to be like a wait & see kind of thing. Throw some meat into the water & wait patiently for some eagles to swoop down on it. If it's your lucky day maybe you will see a few.

As we approached the island, the operator switched off the engine & let us drift slowly to the feeding location. And I quickly realised it was not like what I had imagined.

There were easily over a hundred reddish brown eagles swirling in the sky above us. It was quite a sight.

Then, the operator took out some chicken skin & threw it into the sea. The eagles need no invitation as we watched them swoop down majestically for their food.

Two other boats carrying tourist are doing the same thing too. The eagles over there are so spoiled. No need to hunt for food ^~^

And at last, I found the elusive eagles of Langkawi.


Johnny Ong said...

wow, if u had a video cam u cld have taken a nice shot of that swooping down. thereafter submit it to national geographic haha

acura said...

I have a video recording but the internet in my college here is so slow. It's impossible to upload anything

I will post it up as soon as possible ^~^

foongpc said...

That's very interesting! Would love to be there to watch the eagles! Will wait for your video : )

emans said...

Nice place. I would love to be there too and see those eagles soar high. In my country, there are only a few eagles left and seeing eagles in the sky is very rare.

Falcon said...

lankawi..may favourite place!!i remeber the eale feedin...maigical...

QuaChee said...

love this too! was there last year. this is really nice heh :)

Kuan Yew said...

The eagle feeding is indeed unnatural and is bad for the eagles for a few reasons

1) reliant on human feedings, after a few generations, the eagles of langkawi are no longer majestic as they only swoop down and skim the water for human waste.
Will they gradually loose the ability to hunt?

2) Anitbiotics, growth hormones, beta agonists etc injected into our poultry like chicken are being fed to the eagles. It not only causes the bird's immune system to go haywire and cause disease, hormonal changes may affect the bird's ability to breed.

3) Prolonged contact with humans will cause the eagles to loose their natural apprehension and fear for humans. This will make hunting etc all the more easier.

4) How much have we learned from the eagle feeding activity apart from visual entertainment? Are we more aware about their breeding habits? Their courtship mechanisms their prey(chicken skin?)
problems they are facing like habitat destruction? What have we learned from the above activity that aids in their protection?

Unless something beneficial comes out of the feeding activity or at the very least does not harm the birds in anyway, please do not support the activcity and make your concerns heard.

Thank you.

WChinner said...

Very well said, Kuan Yew! Thumbs up to ya!

Eagle feeding is one of the most horrible activity introduced to Langkawi as so called abusively used term known as "eco-tourism".

I need not go further on this as Kuan Yew had said it all.

Operators, authorities, tour agencies will not stop this act. Who will stop? It is tourists like you. Remember, no demand, no supply. This works!

BTW, the so call eagle is Brahminy Kite (Haliastur Indus).

Please be a responsible tourist.

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