x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Lights, camera, action for Bu Tinah

The campaign to help Bu Tinah Island win election as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world is getting some slick help from Abu Dhabi's enviromental agency.

Abu Dhabi // The campaign to help Bu Tinah Island win election as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world is getting some slick help from Abu Dhabi's enviromental agency. The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi plans to release a documentary next week showcasing the coral-ringed cluster of islands that is home to marine turtles, dolphins, flamingos and rare migratory birds such as the Socotra cormorant.

It is also popular with the dugong, a marine mammal that feeds on sea grass. About 600 of the estimated 3,000 dugongs inhabiting UAE waters can be found off Bu Tinah. The competition to anoint the wonders is run by New7Wonders Foundation, a Swiss-based, government-controlled body. Besides Bu Tinah, the contest's 28 finalists include the Galapagos Islands, an evolutionary sidewater off the coast of Ecuador; Vietnam's Halong Bay, which has hollow limestone islands; and Canada's Bay of Fundy, where the daily tide encompasses 100 billion tonnes of seawater.

Online, a Facebook group called "Vote for Abu Dhabi's Bu Tinah-7 Wonders of Nature!" is also plumping for the island. As of yesterday afternoon, it had 97 members. Recent reports say Bu Tinah has leapt to No 12 in the voting, from No 28 in November, thanks to an online campaign by students at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. Yesterday, the New7Wonders website did not list the finalists in order of votes, but did rank them according to the growth rate of their votes over the past four weeks. This list had Bu Tinah back in the pack at No 18. The fastest growth belonged to the Galapagos, and the slowest to the Bay of Fundy.

The contest began in 2007 with 440 locations in more than 200 countries. The final votes are to be tallied in 2011. asafdar@thenational.ae