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Langkawi Bird Paradise
Langkawi, off the coast of Malaysia is very much a tourist island. People do stay there but at the same time there are many daily visitors from the mainland and from Penang. One of the most popular visitor stop off's is Langkawi Bird Paradise (Taman Burung Langkawi). The collection is open every day from nine in the morning till six in the evening.
Since my visit the Langkawi Bird Paradise has expanded and renamed itself as the Langkawi Wildlife Park, In addition to the birds and mammals it now has displays of crystals. They now keep over two thousand birds of around 150 species.
This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo travelogue. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring and to remove the Casanova exploits.
There were two suprises to Langkawi Bird Paradise. The first was that I had not heard of the place before today and secondly because it was so well constructed... taking the local environment in mind. By that I mean that both visitors and animals are in an inside/outside sort of environment meaning you get shade from the sun, protection from the rain without being stifled indoors. It is, in effect an all weather zoo and an idea that many places could benefit by imitating.
The 'Langkawi Bird Paradise' recieved an immediate three stars from me because of the Palm Civets accommodation. They had a large, light, airy and clean enclosure and there was upper perching but sadly, not enough of it. One animal was up and one on the ground. I would have guessed that the two did not get on and so they had little choice to remain at different levels. There needed to be more upper branching. There needed to be more cage furniture, more enrichment. Using my 'palm civet gauge' this needed to be applied to all the enclosures here.
They were good, don't get me wrong, but they were just boxes. They just needed busying up. This is so much more important for the single animals of which there were a few. There needed the opportunity to hide and the freedom to express normal behaviour (five freedoms again). The otter had no water!
The walk through aviary was robust and attractive. I liked the idea of brollies for when it was raining. The Brahminy kite aviary was amongst the best I have seen for this species. So often this very attractive little bird seems to get back perch.
The signs were good and were mostly sponsored by Fuji film. There was a series of excellent educational posters on the anatomy of a bird and egg development.
Langawi Bird Paradise and Wildlife Park - Part I
I liked seeing the large planted aviary with Greater bird of Paradise and Lesser Mouse Deer. What I didn't like was that visitors got to three sides of this and the mouse deer had nowhere to hide. In just a couple of minutes watching I could see that both Bird and Mammal were stressed. This place gets up too close and personal. It did not help that then a guy started throwing stones at the mouse deer to get it to move. I did not see any staff about. Later I saw two visitors up on a perch between two birds of prey whilst their friends took photos. Again no staff about. This collection could be really good if the cages were given a long hard look at from the animals point of view.
On the whole though the Langkawi Bird Paradise was not a bad collection. It just needed a little bit of a rethink to make it a more comfortable place for the animals.
Langawi Bird Paradise and Wildlife Park - Part II
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