Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Photo Taking with the White-bellied Sea Eagle @ Karon Point in Phuket [Thailand]

Most people wouldn't give a second hoot to this vehicle parked at the entrance of Karon Point in Phuket until you notice there's a movement from the stuff toy perched on a real tree branch that rested across. 

Darn, it's a real eagle (species should be White-bellied Sea Eagle) and i have never seen one so close to me; to the extent i was tempted to touch it before common sense told me to be aware of their sharp beak! 

Typical of tourist attractions in Thailand, such close encounters with animals are common and you can in fact pay the handlers to take pictures with them. It's always a dilemma for me; on one hand, i don't think we should make use of wild animals in such ways whereas on the other hand, i would so love to have my face plastered next to theirs and have a photo taken. 

While i was still considering, Alex had already passed a 100-baht bill to the handler and beckoned me to help take his photographs! He is a sucker for such stuff; so long he didn't have to pay an arm or leg for it. The price of about S$4 would be considered as pretty worth the price in his context. 

Dad was keen too even though he is the kind of parents who never quite like to spend on himself. Hence, being the kind son, i offered to pay, as i did in Guilin for the nice photos he had with the cormorants

Now, i wasn't quite afraid of the beak; at least not as much as the talons that birds of prey were famous for. A swipe and i bet you would see blood. If you look closer, however, you would notice that the claws were covered with a plastic-like material.

In order to prevent the eagle from flying off, a rope tied to the eagle was kept connected via the other end. I am wondering what will happen if those passionate animal activists decide to 'accidentally' release the other end of the rope.

Sadly, i don't have the guts to do that. In addition to the dilemma i mentioned earlier, i would also think if the handler is only depending on this source of income to maintain her family of a few children plus elderly parents and the eagles did seem rather well kept with glossy feathers and bright, alert eyes. 

My decision would eventually be quite consistent with my past dilemmas; a compromise. I will not pay money to have my picture taken with the animals but my travel companions are free to do so and i would help to take their photos. 

In this case, the delighted smile on my father's face was worth it. 


Outside Karon Point
Phuket, Thailand

With Own Camera - 100 Baht 
With Handler's Polaroid - 200 Baht

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