The dugong may not be the world’s prettiest creature, but it is one of the most valuable because it is the last remaining representative of the Dugongidae family. The dugong faces extinction in many parts of the world, but there is hope. In fact, it is doing very well in Bu Tinah Island, which now hosts the world’s densest population of this large marine mammal.
Bu Tinah Island, part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve in Abu Dhabi, is also one of the 28 Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature, and Jean-Paul de la Fuente, Director of the New 7 Wonders Foundation, recently visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet senior managers of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) to discuss the Bu Tinah Island campaign.
Speaking after the meeting, Dr. Jaber Al Jaberi, Deputy Secretary General of EAD, said: “Bu Tinah Island has earned its place in the final of this competition because of the way that we in this country have chosen to protect it. Bu Tinah reminds us that the UAE’s natural heritage is unique, and through this competition and campaign people everywhere can help ensure our natural environment continues to be recognised and protected.”
Jean-Paul de la Fuente called on people in the region to support Bu Tinah Island: “The goal of the New7Wonders of Nature is to bring global appreciation for our natural heritage to the same level as that we hold for our cultural world. It is encouraging to see how the Bu Tinah campaign is spearheading efforts to promote and protect the natural beauty of the UAE and indeed the Arabian Gulf region. We encourage all the community, from individuals to organisations to companies, to get behind the campaign and vote for Bu Tinah.”
The Bu Tinah Island campaign has encouraged voting in universities and schools and at exhibitions and events. Among those who have shown their support are members of the ruling families, ministers, celebrities and marine enthusiasts. Residents of the UAE may vote for Bu Tinah by sending an SMS to 3888 with the word “Butinah” in the message. People can also vote using the campaign website www.butinah.ae.