Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Greeted by Trash at Teluk Kampi

Teluk Kampi, one of the longest and remotest beach in Penang National Park.

The stingless beehive

The strangling ficus after the host tree was strangled and had since decayed.

The suspected feces of a feral dog.

Greeted by trash

It has been at least 6 years since we last step foot on Teluk Kampi, one of the 8 beaches in Penang National Park. I remember we went there immediately after the tsunami and we found most vegetation along the beach were harsh brown and dry, after being washed with salt water. Today it is green.

Teluk Kampi is a special place for us. A remote beach not visited by many but we have been there countless time. In fact, each time we hike there from Pantai Kerachut, we have to bash through the overgrowth. It just mean that there were few hikers to Teluk Kampi.
You hardly see any trash along the trail as well as on the beach. The beach is long (about a kilometer) and the sand is white. There are several small streams that were our source of fresh water. A war trench is fading away and disappearing among the overgrowth. A solitary "pokok melaka" (Indian gooseberry) that once stood so firmly with fruits is now difficult to spot.

A wild dog was seen hurriedly disappearing into the bushes. Now I can understand why a four-legged skink was found crawling on a tree, apparently escaping from the hunting instint of the dogs on the ground! Mind you when a national park has introduced domesticated animals (we saw another pack of dogs at the ridge of Teluk Duyung), the local indigenous wildlife suffers. And that could be the reason why I didn't see any amphibian (usually frogs) and shy otters swimming across the small island off the beach. Of course these feral dogs will be competing with the local species for food too.
A national park status has provided a permanent protection for the last piece of wilderness in Penang Island. It has also increase the inflow of hikers and visitors to this remote part of the park. With increase visitors, the trash is becoming a norm. And that, withered a protected park.
The carefree flight of the white bellied sea eagles as the sun descended and disappearing into the sea were something that we will cherished for life. We should have been selfish to keep this to ourselves. I regret being one of the activists that lobbied the Pantai Acheh Forest Reserve as a Penang National Park more than 10 years ago. I thought by protecting it as a park, all these nature wonders will be kept for future generations. I am not so sure now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If it's not gazetted, it might lose to irreversible development such as hotels, roads, luxury housing areas, etc. Securing the protection status is the first step, next is to improve the management. Thanks for lobbying that area to be a NP