Monday, April 26, 2010

Naughty, Naughty Awana Porto Malai of Langkawi

Not too long ago, some tourists were curious to check out the floating platform across the famous Genting Group's Awana Porto Malai, Langkawi.

Floating platform from a distance

When the tourists got there, these were what they saw.

A view of the floating platform after 500mm zoom which is actually a pen 

This is how the pen looks like at a very close range

Shortly, the dolphins swam to the surface to greet the tourists. Wow! wonderful display.

As confirmed by a source, these dolphins in this pen belong to the family of the Bottlenose dolphins. Unfortunately, these dolphins are not native in the waters of Langkawi and believed to have been exported out from Solomon Islands. 
From the grapevine, one of them escaped by jumping over. That is why this pen has fences around it now. An additional structure added to the pen now is a security guard house.
This picture was taken 3 months ago. The entire hut is now sitting next to the pen.

If you see a dolphin in the waters of Langkawi, do take a closer look to determine if the dolphin is native or an escapee. This is how our Langkawi's Indo-Pacific dolphins look like.

Notice the short pinkish dorsal fin as compared to the Bottlenose dolphins?

What is Awana Porto Malai doing to these imported Bottlenose dolphins from Solomon?
To be transported to the new Resort's World in Singapore. The pen has been here for more than five months in Langkawi now and I am not sure how many dolphins are still in the pen and how many have gone down to Singapore. 

To read more on previous reports:

These beautiful wildlife creatures will be exploited for the sake of educational and entertainment purposes just like the tiger in Langkawi. 

From now on, I will tell my friends visiting Langkawi not to support Awana Porto Malai. I guess that is all I could do for now.


  1. Dolphins are not under perhilitan? or are their palms well greased with paper and a blind eye turned?

    Do you have a post on the eagle feeding activities of Langkawi as well?

    Keep up the good reporting!

  2. Ps- The mysterious animal is actually a Nilgai, from India- sometimes called a blue-bull, coz the males have a bluish tinge

  3. Thanks for the update!! I've also posted on wild shores. Hopefully we will hear more about what will happen to the dolphins. Sigh.

  4. Hi Raoul;
    I did a search in the Perhilitan website and can't find any dolphin species in their checklist. Instead, I stumbled upon some new species ie pig-tailed reptile, stump-tailed reptile and long-tailed reptile..hahhaha.. Checkout their website:

    As far as I understand that only terrestrial animals are under the jurisdiction of Perhilitan. Marine creatures are under the Fisheries Department or Jabatan Taman Laut (Department of Marine Parks).

    If someone out there can correct my statement, please leave your comments here. Thanks.

    As for the eagle feeding post, yes, i was thinking about it ages ago. It is still constructing in my mind. Thank you for reminding me, Raoul.

    Thank you for the id of that "weird goat". I had placed my comments in your blog.

  5. Hi Ria;
    Thank you for spreading the words around especially to your Singaporean friends.

  6. Ooo.. I popped over to the Website, It appears any errors have been rectified.. as those descriptions are applied to macaques, on that page. :-)

    D fisheries/ Marine Parks Dept have any jurisdiction over the import/ export of sea creatures? as in, can they fine the naughty ppl at Awana over this? (not that I really expect them to do anything... sigh)

    oh ya, Thanks for taking my suggestion of eagle feeding seriously, I scrolled thru your entire label of the good, bad and ugly of langkawi and didn't find it... haha

    Just in case you need a head start, I do have a similar post, done far back in 2008-

    Cheers! :-)

    ps- Are you familiar with Wild-Walla and his nature tours? what's your comments on him?

  7. Hi Raoul;
    Ya.. I meant to be sarcastic about those weird reptiles names. I guess I'm not up to the sarcastic expert level yet. That page will appear as macaque in the beginning and then changed to reptile.. kakakaka.

    Thanks for your link on the eagle feeding. I meant to do it since a long time ago. Got distracted by other issues. The eagle feeding post will be part of the Ugly Mangrove Tours series. I will use put your link when I will be doing the eagle feeding posting. Is that ok with you?

    Wild-Walla? You mean Jungle Walla Tours?
    If it is Jungle Walla Tours, yes. This is one of those nature tour companies on Langkawi that I can highly recommend. Why? Have you heard something that I didn't know?

  8. Raoul;
    Btw, I'm awaiting for some answers from a marine biologist with regards to the protection of the dolphins.

    Hope to get some news.

  9. Hi Raoul;
    This is a help from a marine biologist who was kind enough to provide us the answer:

    In Malaysia , all cetaceans and dugongs are protected by laws. Federal legislation such as Fisheries Act 1985 (Part VI - Aquatic Mammals in Malaysian EEZ) together with Fisheries Regulations 1999 (Control of Endangered Species of Fish. Related States laws reflect the federal legislation and include specific regulations for management of wildlife within state jurisdiction. There are three types of state laws; Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (apply apply in rivers and territorial waters of West Malaysia (Peninsular)), Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998 (apply in rivers and territorial waters of Sarawak), Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 (apply in rivers and territorial waters of Sabah ).

    Now, my question is do Fisheries Department and Perhilitan work together??

    Many thanks to her (marine biologist)

  10. Dear all;
    I had spoken to one of the officer of Perhilitan on this island. He knew about the dolphins in the pen.

    All this is the answer to my own question. Nope, the Perhilitan and Fisheries Department do not seem to be working together. I was told to call the Fisheries Department instead. So, i asked the Perhilitan officer if he has any contacts or the right person in the Fisheries, he told me to search through the internet.

    oh well... as expected-lah...

  11. Wow! Very very Thorough and industrious of you in getting to the very bottom of the story! good work! *clap*

    Will be honoured should you link my little eagle post to your upcoming post! (P.s You know what? I've never been to Langkawi!!!)

    About the Walla "Irshad Mobarak"- I've heard about the man from a Newspaper article since 2003 (was taking SPM then), heard raving reviews about the tours that he conducted and how he left a managerial position in a hotel or bank for a life educating all and sundry on nature. (My hero!)

    Wanted to meet him there to learn about how does he connect with young children and teaching them conservation values, very interested as I want to able to spread the conservation message to all levels of society. Since, I didn't get to Langkawi... well.... sigh

    So cetaceans are protected, but if their not caught within the waters of Malaysia but simply "kept" here, there's nothing we can do? I'm sorta expecting an answer like that when you do get to the fishery authorities. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

    I think the way to make the fisheries department take steps to protect cetaceans within our waters if individuals/NGOs are able to find a spot in the straits of malacca/ South China Sea where dolphins often appear and initiate an ecotourism project that brings locals near the mammals - Like how Pulau Langkayan in Sabah promotes its Whale-shark sighting and Charge RM1400 plus plus for a night's stay on the Island, all in the name of catching a sight of the biggest fish of them all!

    would it be possible to push this suggestion to MNS/ WWF? To scout for a suitable area and engage our fisherman to establish dolphin viewing as a new source of income.

    Knowing that they can earn by taking care of the environment and protecting the dolphins, they may soon learn that reef bombing/ cyanide poisoning and deep sea trawling are all damaging their livelihood.. who knows, they may start protecting mangroves and chase away illegal bakau loggers?

    That's my best hope for increasing awareness among locals.

    as for those dolphins at Awana... I'm afraid should the really really relevant authorities with bite are notified, they would merely shift the pens to international waters/ another location where its out of sight of busybodies such as you and me. Let's hope for the best!

    ps.- sorry for the late reply, wasn't alerted to browse this page becoz I didn't subscribe by email!

    pps- Are you a missus? Coz all along I've thought that you're a guy! LOL :ppp

  12. Hi all;
    More than a week ago, I learned something about protection of dolphins.

    FYI all dolphines are under protection of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Unfortunately, this species of dolphins in the hands of Genting Groups is listed under Appendix II of CITES.

    Appendix II means these dolphins are allowed for commercial trade as long as it does not endanger a species' survival.

    Refer to:

    Since it is under Appendix II, which means these unethical companies are laughing all the way to the bank. It is up to the consumer power (ie the tourists) to dictate the fate of these dolphins.

    This is what i know so far, if you have more information, do let me know.

    Hi Raoul;
    Yes,yes, yes... i still remember the eagle feeding post... got other issues bah. Will get to it, give me time, ya?


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