UAE's Bu Tinah Among Finalists in Seven Wonders Poll
The UAE’s Bu Tinah Shoals is competing with the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef and 25 other spectacular natural landmarks in the final phase of the global poll to choose the “New 7 Wonders of Nature,” according to the official shortlist of finalists announced on Tuesday.
Bu Tinah, a tiny archipelago amid extensive coral formations and seagrass beds some 35 north of Marawah in the UAE, is home to flamingoes, dolphins and dugongs, and visited by flocks of rare migratory birds.
Also in the race for the new wonders are the Amazon rain forest, the Dead Sea, Mount Kilimanjaro and Ecuador’s Galapagos islands, according to the organisation led by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.
People can vote by internet or phone. The winners will be announced in 2011 and share in the glory already enjoyed by the seven man-made wonders chosen two years ago.
A panel of experts chose the finalists among the 77 nominees that gained the most votes in an early round of polling. People had suggested 261 landmarks worldwide.
The panel chaired by Federico Mayor, former chief of Unesco, picked the finalists depending on geographical balance, diversity and the importance to human life, Weber told new agencies.
Over one billion people are expected to join in the voting, said Weber.
“This campaign should contribute to the appreciation – to the knowledge – of our environment and not just the one in our country but worldwide,” he told The Associated Press. “If we or our children want to save anything, we should first appreciate it.”
Weber said he was happy to see that the nominees include places that lie in more than one country, such as the Dead Sea or the Amazon rain forest, which makes people work together across borders.
Weber declined to give any numbers of votes so far. But the organization plans to release detail about voter profiles later, he added. Registration on the website aims to prevent people from voting twice.
The finalists also include Azerbaijan’s Mud Volcanoes, Lebanon’s Jeita Grotto, Ireland’s Moher Cliffs and Germany’s Black Forest.
Around 100 million people voted in the selection of the seven man-made wonders in 2007. The winners were the Colosseum, Italy” the Great Wall of China” the Taj Mahal, India” Petra, Jordan” Christ the Redeemer Statue, Brazil” Machu Picchu, Peru” and the Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico.
Choosing world wonders has been a continuing fascination over the centuries. Unesco keeps updating its list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 890 places.
The New 7 Wonders campaign aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments and natural sites.