If you like animals and especially birds, then a trip to Langkawi Wildlife Park is worth the effort. If you have kids in tow, it’s a good opportunity to embrace a little animal education, with fun and educational kid-friendly signs throughout the park and a chance for a hands-on look at the effort it takes to care for pets properly.
Opened in 2002 and often referred to as the Bird Park, which was their original name — as well as a reference to the majority of their population — they changed their name to Langkawi Wildlife Park in 2006. The enclosed compound is not up to Western standards, but there are efforts to improve conditions as the money slowly trickles in.
The Wildlife Park is privately owned and quite a few of the original animals were once pets (legal or otherwise) or came from defunct animal attraction venues around the region. Wildlife rehabilitation centres are non-existent in Peninsular Malaysia, with the exception of the efforts of University Putra Malaysia’s veterinary department, so limited options exist for these wild animals. One does not simply release a seven-metre long boa constrictor back into the wild, especially after it has been somewhat domesticated.
The layout of the park is confusing and almost maze-like, and although there is a map available it reads more like ‘Where’s Waldo?’. It is divided up into sections, and birds rule the roost, with a macaw, pheasant, and even a designated ostrich area. The mammal section also has a space for nocturnal animals, but unfortunately their internal clocks are set to opening hours.
The aviary section is well done, all things considered, and the birds have lots of room to fly. And of course no one can resist birds that eat right from your hand. The colourful squawking birds have plenty of trees and foliage to hide in and several furry critters are milling about as well, such as the tiny free-ranging mouse deer.
The Wildlife Park is about 15 minutes’ north of Kuah on Jalan Ayer Hangat. Visitor tickets are a bit expensive, but we suppose it isn’t cheap to feed all these hungry mouths.
Packets of food are for sale to give you a chance to spread some love along the way, and obligatory end-of-the-trail gift shop is jammed with souvenirs.
By Vanessa Workman
Last updated on 21st September, 2014.