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'We'll push for Bu Tinah to be new wonder of nature'

posted on 23/07/2009: 2189 views



The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) says a "concerted effort" will be made across the UAE to support Bu Tinah Shoals after it reached the final stages of a global poll to be named one of the world's New7Wonders of Nature.

The low-lying shoal, which is set amid extensive coral formations and seagrass beds around 35 kilometres north of Marawah, was named a finalist earlier this week in the New7Wonders of Nature initiative, which aims to identify the most breathtaking areas of nature on the planet.

Bu Tinah Shoals is one of four finalists in the Islands category of the competition, alongside the Maldives, the Galapagos Islands and Jeju Island.

Thabit Zahran Al Abdul Salam, Director of the Biodiversity Management Marine Sector at the EAD, said: "We are absolutely thrilled Bu Tinah Shoals has reached this far in the competition. It is another recognition for the UAE as a whole and puts us in the global picture. As Bu Tinah is part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, it is also another opportunity for us to re-emphasise the importance of its protection.

"We are competing against a very esteemed group of islands that are perhaps better known on a global level. But Bu Tinah Shoals has got something to offer that the others don't. Aside from its natural beauty, Bu Tinah has got a meaningful role to play in terms of climate change. Many of the coral reefs and formations surrounding Bu Tinah continue to thrive in extreme temperatures. Therefore, Bu Tinah provides a natural laboratory for scientists to study how coral reefs survive in such harsh environmental conditions."

Bu Tinah, a horse-shoe-shaped group of islands, is frequented by a large number of critically endangered hawksbill turtles, dolphins, dugongs and birds.

Al Abdul Salam added: "The fact Bu Tinah Shoals has managed to reach this stage of the competition is an achievement in itself. However, we are confident of going even further so at the moment we are putting a new strategy into place that we hope will increase awareness of Bu Tinah and its participation in the competition.

"The strategy will be a concerted effort from various bodies across the UAE, not just the EAD, and we plan to work closely with the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. Furthermore, we are planning to increase awareness via social networking websites such as Facebook. There are also plans for a TV documentary." – Gulf News

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