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.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Langkawians Can View the Tiger Now

Announcement! Announcement! 
Tiger show in Oriental Village, Langkawi is now open for public viewing. It has been opened since early April 2010.
Photo contributed by M


Admission fee for now is FREE and public can put their contribution into a donation box.


Sad...Sad... Sad...


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

M's Dedication to this Kitty

M missed the bus in registering herself in Monyet King's Tiger Blogfest, which is still running now till April 23rd 2010. She requested me to publish her piece of art for this little Kitty.

Tiger!  Tiger!  What would you do!
There is no jungle, you're now in a zoo.
People walk by to look and stare.
You yawn and snooze because you don't care!

Man have guns and bullets and set traps.
With just bare hands, they would lose in a snap.
They don't fight fair in this killing game.
Instead of pride, they should be in shame!

Tiger!  Tiger!  You are strong!
We hope to get you back where you belong.
We'll keep trying though sometimes in vain.
We feel your plight, we feel your pain!

You want your jungle where you belong.
Where you can hunt and roam all night long!
What if you get hurt or even killed?
In a zoo, you are safe but so not thrilled.


What is life, if there is no strive
Here I wait to be fed
I wait to die
In the Jungle, to be wild and free
Tiger! Tiger! I can then be me!


~ written by M, 20 April 2010

Thank you M for this piece of "picture perfect" poem. Hmmm... I didn't know you can be so poetic. Ahem..hem... M is also my grammar checker service provider.

M owns a blog with her set of fantastic pictures ie Not Just Odonata

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Tiger Show Will Go On

Tiger Blogfest 2010 has started this week from April 19-23 2010, initiated and brainchild of His Royal Highness Monyet King or a blogger simply known as Planet of the Monyets

Since the heat is on, I wish to jump on the wagon by rambling about our Langkawi's only tiger.



Most people know that tigers are not found on Langkawi. The picture above was taken by M during her visit at Oriental Village last August. Here is our story: Over here kitty, kitty

What had happened from there?
To make the story short... MYCAT came to know and helped to investigate. Perhilitan (Wildlife Department) confirmed the owner of this tiger in captivity has all the legal papers and documents. Therefore, this tiger stays. How and when the tiger was brought in? Don't know.

My main concern is: 
Does Langkawi need a tiger or two for tourists attraction when tigers are not native on the island? 

Not knowing how much MYCAT has found out, I was eventually told off by MYCAT that I must not get them involved in this case. This is because they have a bigger picture, bigger issues to deal with. Is MYCAT right? Maybe. What is ONE LEGAL tiger in captivity as compared to less than 500 in the wild.

Great. If this issue does not fall under MYCAT jurisdiction, I do not know who else could help.  How about the media? Coincidentally, Hillary Chiew of The Star was pursuing her articles on Anson Wong, the Malaysian King Poacher. I wrote to her a couple of times, hoping that she would help. No replies from her and I was encouraged not to follow up with Hillary.

...few months later since August 2009

The show must go on...

We were back at Oriental Village and found the glass enclosure for the tiger was almost ready.

When will the show start? Don't know but anytime soon. Psst... from the grapevine, another tiger is on its way.

M wrote a letter to the Star, NST, Malaysiakini and only www.ecomalaysia.org helped to publish. Thankfully, our Royal Highness Monyet King came along and helped to highlight it in his blog: http://planetofthemonyets.blogspot.com/2010/03/lone-tiger-in-langkawi.html

Once again, we circulated the letter to the members of Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Langkawi Chapter. Somehow, a reply came from a Programme Assistant of the East and South East Asia Conservation Programme, Zoological Society of London. These were her interesting comments that was circulated to members of MNS:

"There is no need to rehabilitate this tiger as captive tigers play a very important role in tiger conservation.  A good captive tiger exhibit can educate, inspire and help raise awareness about the plight of wild tigers.  

In addition, it would not be possible to rehabilitate this tiger because all Sumatran tigers in Malaysian zoos have been genetically tested and verified to be hybrids.  The tiger at Langkawi is a descend of tiger 974, who was part Indochinese tiger.  Therefore, the tiger at Langkawi is not a purebred Sumatran tiger, but rather a Sumatran-Indochines e hybrid.
In regards to husbandry and good exhibit plans, I will send you a link to the book Management and Conservation of Captive Tigersby R. Tilson, G. Brady, K. Traylor-Holzer, and D. Armstrong (eds.). Minnesota Zoo: Apple Valley, MN, 1994: 1-136. 2nd edition.  This is an excellent resource which should help you find out all you need to know tiger enclosures and anything else you might have questions about regarding keeping tigers in captivity.


So, what does that mean? 

Has it been DNA proven that this tiger on Langkawi is a hybrid?

Sadly, there were some MNS members who were happy with that information and applauded the sender for sharing that. From those responses, it left me and M wondering:

So, it is OK for Langkawians to have captive tigers in Langkawi then. As long as the tiger is well kept and well groomed?

Since the HUGE task of bringing in an elephant to Oriental Village was a peanut, why not tigers? And these will be next on their list: Rhinocerous, Orang Utan, Tembadau, Probosis Monkeys,  Tapir, and a Dodo bird...


Hey, how about an idea for Langkawi Authority to promote Langkawi as:
"Why travel to both West Malaysia and Borneo when you can see all sorts of wildlife on Langkawi Geopark and the best part of it is, you can view all of them in Oriental Village!"

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Temurun Waterfall Now Is DAMMED!

The script on this stone reads:

"The Temurun Waterfall is located in a scenic rainforest setting millions of years old. Literally translated the word 'Temurun' means heritage. It is one of the most popular spots for picnic, the age-old trees providing natural shade from the blistering sunlight and the waterfall offering cool fresh water that rejuvenates the body.

Some believe that the natural water pools possess healing powers since there are numerous plant roots protruding beneath the pools."


Healing power beneath the pool of water? Wow! But what about during the dry season? There is no pool of water during those period. Tourists came to see the waterfall and had to go away feeling disappointed because the river dried up. 

Being Malaysians, we are known to show our best hospitality and we will do whatever to make our guests happy. To demonstrate "Malaysia Boleh", here is what we can do to have constant pool of water even in the extreme hot spell.

Temurun Waterfall NOW!


Three staggered mini dams were constructed below the highest pool. These pools are meant for visitors that do not wish to climb up to the waterfall or the highest pool.

One of the mini dams under construction. Look at the mess they made. Do you think they will clear the debris once the project is completed? NO WAY! Contractors hired by local authorities do not have any responsibilities in taking out the leftover materials or even cleaning up the area.  This has been proven in many previous projects they had done in the recreational parks.

Do you think that the wall is way too high?
Water will flow over the wall during rainy season. What if the following years the dry season gets hotter and drier than this year? Water will be collected and stagnant, promotes algae growth and water will not be as clear as the picture shown above. Imagine people soaking in the stagnant pool of water with all the dead skins trapped within. Will the freshwater marine creatures be happy? Maybe for a short period of "partying" time before the algae bloom.
To demonstrate our hospitality, there is a changing/shower room right up to the top of the highest pool. There is an existing toilet/bathroom at the park entrance, however, this new structure (the yellow coloured cement hut in the picture above) will be convenient for all. Why do you need to walk 10 minutes down to the entrance now? Isn't this a smart way or a lazy way?

This newly erected information board provides some educational values on our river system. Once again, contradiction!! The information board should tell kids on how homosapiens can degrade a river system instead.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE??
JABATAN PENGAIRAN DAN SALIRAN LANGKAWI, of course! (Department of Irrigation and Drainage). Our system here is weird. Rivers and streams in recreational parks are under the jurisdiction of this department. While the forests next to the rivers is under the responsibility of Forest Department (Jabatan Perhutanan). Stupid system resulted to the sufferings of our natural resources. What can I say to these people; BODOH! STUPID! BODOH!

Bad news to Malaysians tax payers particular the true Malaysian nature lovers. You must be thinking that our $$$ should have gone to the public toilets, right?

Temurun Waterfall is part of Langkawi Geopark. Having such status does not give them the rights to do such extensive development. Visiting Temurun Waterfall will be in the itinerary of the Geopark Conference delegates (April 11-14). Will they get a chance to watch the horror? I believe they will be told that the waterfall is now dried up due to dry season and so it is no point of visiting.

Thank you to Ai for alerting me on this absurd project when she was there recently to relax. She lost her appetite for a dip after seeing that.  The boys at Tiga Temurun cafe were indeed upset.

Patrick of Langkawi Link labels me as the world's angriest naturalist and I strongly deny that. Well, for once, Patrick, you are right! 


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Temurun Waterfall Langkawi Back Then

Waterfalls have always been my favourite getaway to cool off and relax. Langkawi is fortunate to have quite a few good ones especially when the wet season arrives. The ones that are easily accessible by all are Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells Waterfall), Durian Perangin Waterfall and Temurun Waterfall.
Location of the three easily accessible waterfalls (letters in RED)

Seven Wells Waterfall and Durian Perangin Waterfall had already received great human impact and had turned too commercialised. Temurun Waterfall remains my favourite spot as compared to those two ones. Even though Temurun Waterfall has man made pathway beside the river, its dramatic three tiers with cumulative height of about 200 meter made Temurun the tallest waterfall in Langkawi. Its geological significant would be the formation of late Cambrian (510-490 million years ago) of thickly bedded sandstone, with minor siltstone and shale that belongs to the Langkawi Machincang Geoforest park.

Allow me to rewind some scenes of Temurun Waterfall back then.


TEMURUN WATERFALL IN NOVEMBER 2005





Back in 2005, I recalled the three crazy cyclists would cycled all the way from Kuah town for more than 40 kilometers to get there.

TEMURUN WATERFALL IN OCTOBER 2006




Begonia family

Beautiful isn't it? Temurun Waterfall that is ever refreshing (only available during rainy season).

Do you want to know what is Temurun Waterfall is like now? Join me on my next blog...

References: 
1) Langkawi Geopark by Mohd Shafeea Leman, Kamarulzaman Abdul Ghani, Ibrahim Komoo and Norhayati Ahmad

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is Awana Porto Malai Good To Host Langkawi Geopark Conference?

Once again, Langkawi will be the center of attraction by hosting the forth biennial International UNESCO Conference on Geoparks 2010 from 11-16 April 2010 (which is today).

Surprisingly, the venue for the conference will be at Awana Porto Malai Langkawi. And interestingly, this is what M and I found out not too long ago at Pulau Ular.
Location: Pulau Ular (Ular Island)

                
When you stand at the jetty or even before the entrance of Awana Porto Malai, the work site or dump site cannot be seen at all. These cheeky people.

Geological Interest on Pulau Ular:
Pulau Ular is a geological monument that forms part of Langkawi's Geopark site in the Southern region which is the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park. It is a small island and its present shapes and morphologies were formed due to selective erosion by wave since thousand of years ago. The island is made up of several undulating hills separated by abrasion platforms, producing its unique snake-like appearance if viewed from the east to southeast. These hills, together with five sets of elevated ancient abrasion platforms at approximately +5m, +4m, +3m, +2m and +1.5m above the present low tide level, have produced a spectacular geological landscape. The uniqueness of Pulau Ular is the pebbly mudstone suggests to be of marine glacial deposits (diamictite).  
Please scroll to the bottom to find out what Dropstones are.

What Awana Porto Malai has done to Pulau Ular not too long ago?
This barge was spotted carrying a tractor and tonnes of rocks, debris.
Barge was moving towards Pulau Ular
Barge was suspected dumping debris and rocks onto Pulau Ular
Do you notice the wired cage on the left? We suspect that they are constructing some sort of wave breakers by putting the rocks into the wired cage.




When you stand at the jetty or even before the entrance of Awana Porto Malai, the work site or dump site cannot be seen at all. These cheeky people.

A poorly maintained information board.
I think this must have been replaced by now. I had noticed the local authorities were placing new information boards within these two weeks especially in the three Geoforest Parks which are in Kilim, Mat Cincang and Dayang Bunting. The only reason why they had no choice to replace new ones is to save their embarrassment. The delegates will visit these parks during the conference period. After the conference, they will ignore the maintenance and conveniently forgetting the existence of facilities.
This is one of the new information board that they put up recently. This board picture was taken at Temurun Waterfall.


Do you think the local authorities knew about this? Or they closed one eye? 

Once again, this is the same old story on how our local government agencies are allowing irresponsible operators building and developing yet they allowed the degrading of Langkawi Geopark status and standard.
M has written a letter to LADA (LAngkawi Development Authority) to highlight on this and yet any action taken??


Dropstones
Dropstones are isolated fragments of rock found within finer-grained water deposited sedimentary rocks. They are in various sizes from small pebbles to boulders. The critical distinguishing feature is that there is evidence that they were not transported by normal water currents, but rather dropped in vertically through the water column.


Glacial dropstones, involving rocks falling out of icebergs, are one of the most common types of dropstone preserved in the geological record, particularly when deposited in low-energy deep sea or lake environments. As glaciers move across a surface, they pluck rocks from it, and incorporate them into their mass. At the coast, fragments of glacier detach and float away as icebergs, which are often transported many miles into the ocean, where they melt and deposit their load. When entrained rocks sink to the ocean floor, they can be incorporated into the oceanic sediments, which are typically fine grained. 

References: 
1) Field Guide to Geology of Langkawi Geopark by Che Aziz Ali, Kamal Roslan Mohamed, Mohd Shafeea Leman, Ibrahim Komoo and Tanot Unjah. 

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