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Today we woke up bright and early to catch the sunrise before our mangrove replanting assignment at the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, which includes a visit to the fish farm, bat cave and eagle watching.

Thankfully the weather was on our side as the sun was up the entire day.

Things we do for a photo: waking up early to catch the sunrise. -- Photo by Kimmy Khoo

Things we do for a photo: waking up early to catch the sunrise. — Photo by Kimmy Khoo

Our first stop was the fish farm where we got to see, touch and learn more about the horseshoe crab, archerfish and stingray. And contrary to popular belief, stingrays are actually NOT dangerous. They’re actually very cute up-close!

Got approached by a stingray and touched it! The experiences you get while on BRATs assignments ❤ #BRATsLangkawi #teamViv Posted by Kimmy Khoo on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dharmini

BRATs participant Dharmini Ilancheran with a horseshoe crab.

Next up on our agenda was eagle watching. In Langkawi, eagles are very iconic animals because that’s where the island got its name from. But have you ever seen this many eagles in one place before? It may be a popular tourist attraction but according to Rotary Club of Langkawi member David Bradley, who will be the club president next year, the feeding of eagles should not be supported because it’s not preserving the self-sustainability of the ecosystem.

David Bradley sailed all the way from Sydney, Australia to Langkawi to carry out a Clean Up project for the environment. -- Photo by Kimmy Khoo

David Bradley sailed all the way from Sydney, Australia to Langkawi to carry out a Clean Up project for the environment. — Photo by Janelle Tan

Besides learning about the animals and Langkawi’s ecosystem, we also realised about the importance of keeping the beach clean and how it can affect the environment. We cleaned up Teluk Mempelam with the Rotary Club of Langkawi and within 30 minutes, we collected five full bags of trash filled with diapers, plastic bags, rice bags, straws and many others that were washed ashore!

Club member Ulrika Player, who also runs a Trash Hero Langkawi project, said, “The main is thing is that people should start throwing their trash so that we won’t have to pick it up for them.” For our final stop along the banks of Kilim River to plant our mangrove saplings. Did you know that you can’t simply plant them anywhere? The saplings can’t be planted too far away from the river as the soil is dry hence, not providing enough nutrients for the plant to grow. The ideal location is a muddy spot and the space between saplings has to be at least two feet apart.

It felt good to cruise along the river feeling the breeze and taking in fresh air.

Along the way, we got to know our boatman, Halimi Bidin, 36. He has been working with the park for 11 years after he quit his job at a bird training center.

“I was born a child of the sea and I’ve always loved to be in the water ever since I was 3 years old,” said Halimi.

When describing his experience, Halimi said that since the Rotary Club's efforts more and more people have been aware about keeping the geoforest clean. -- Photo: SAMUEL ONG/The Star

When describing his experience, Halimi said that the Rotary Club’s efforts have helped increase the public’s awareness about keeping the geoforest clean. — Photo: SAMUEL ONG/The Star

“Actually I found this job while I was on holiday here with a group of friends. When I heard about the vacancy, I jumped at the opportunity. This interest comes from within the heart,” said Halimi.

Check out the boat ride, as seen in this video taken by our reporter, Elizabeth Wong.

Went on a boat ride through the Kilim River. The view of the mangrove plants and the breezy ride was great! Posted by Elizabeth Wong on Friday, December 4, 2015

Looks like the BRATs enjoyed the view!

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