Greeting with smiling face welcome me before my first step into the house. It comes from Pee Dang (brother Dang) who is standing and waiting for me beside my car.
"Hello! Pee Dang" we are greeting each other before moving into his house. This place is fulled of bird and good environment.
Pee Dang was the former shark hunter of Phetchaburi sea. He did hunt many sharks which the group of environmentalists come to get to know him. They tried to beg him so long. Finally he stopped hunting. He started to be the bird watcher instead.
Magazine4 : Why did he dare to abandon his job?. I would like to know his answer.
"Hunting sharks is my job. I chose to hunt big fishes in order not compete with others who is looking for small fishes. We got more money because less competitors". He was laughing.
Magazine4: However he stopped and threw away that money.
“There were many environmentalists came to see me. Some came from the South including Greenpeace. In the beginning I just listened to them. If I quite, what else could I do. Hunting is my job. The environmentalists told me about the hunting impact. During that time I got sick and could not go out to the sea. So I had time and I started thinking about it. I heard from many friends that the resources was reducing. Finally I decided to stop hunting”.
Magazine4: What did you do after that?
"I cleared the garbage which came with the tide. And I brought. the bag to my neighborhood . They can throw away garbage which can be sold. Then we sold it to generate income. Later on we gathered few fishermen friend and formed group of the Crab Bank. I could survive with that income but not as good as old day”.
Magazine4: Still could not find any connection with being a bird watcher.
"This was my luck. One day I were visited by the staff of Bird Conservation Society of Thailand. We had a conversation about environment and ecology. The main topic was related to migratory birds in Laem Phak Bia area.The migratory birds was the index of changes ecosystem. They offered me to be the observer and collect information about various type of birds that came to this area. I thought this was very good for our place. It could be the way to redeem a mistake which I ever did destroy the ecology. So I should take this duty".
Nowaday people will recognize that Pee Dang is holding a camera not a harpoon. Every morning he will go out with his motorcycle, bring tripod along salt ridge. He watches, takes photo, collects data and counting each type of bird.
Magazine4: Do you know each bird type?
"I don't know at all". He answered before laughing. “The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand provided some documentation and books to me”.
They brought me to join seminar. I were back to be a student again. In the beginning I just did it as routine job. Then it turned to be more than that. I loved to do it. Any day that I didn't watch those birds, I felt lonely".
Magazine4: Which type of bird are living or visiting Laem Phak Bia area?
"Lot of birds are here such as..... Some type of migratory birds fall in love with Laem Phak Bia and never moved away”.
From thing that I never knew, it became love and relationship. Also from small pieces of information, we can use it to frame our environmental job in the future.
If anyone has the chance to travel by using Laem Phak Bia route during late morning time, you can drop by and say "Hi" to Pee Dang. I had ever followed him to watch birds. This could be kind of meditation as you need to keep calm, quite, watch and take note all details.
Another matter of fact was Pee Dang had abandoned his job as fisherman. So his new job now is to provide boat for customers who want to watch birds. The boat is serving both group or private. Price can be negotiated. And home stay is available for those who interest. His mobile number is 08-0223-5250. You will definitely have the impression of birds and environment.
Pee Dang's story may seem too general. But it shows his sacrifice to natural, environment and ecology. Pee Dang is not only ordinary bird watcher. He seems to be the protector of our natural for those mankind who forgot to destroy without any intention.
Photo by : Dic Chirananda