Manama: The Tree of Life, a 400-year old mesquite tree in Bahrain whose survival in an area completely free of water supply has made it a legend, is currently ranked fourth in the Official New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign.
The unique tree, standing alone in the heart of the desert, about two kilometres from Jebel Dukhan, Bahrain's highest
point, is one of few Arab entries under the category forest, natural parks, and nature reserves. Mesquites yield yellowish gums used in making mucilage, candles and dyes.
The New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign was launched by the Zurich-based New7Wonders Foundation following its earlier initiative for a global election to choose the man-made Official New Seven Wonders of the World from a selection of hundreds of existing monuments.
Petra in Jordan, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, Italy's the Roman Colosseum, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Chichén Itzá in Mexico, and Peru's Machu Picchu were in July 2007 selected as the new wonders of the world based on 100 million votes cast from people in 200 countries.
"After creating the world's first-ever global voting campaign, New7Wonders is now running the world's largest voting campaign, with voting rates worldwide now over 10 times higher than they were at the same stage of the first New Seven Wonders campaign in 2007," Tia Viering, N7W head of communications, said in a statement.
Voting for the Official New Seven Wonders of Nature is done from anywhere in the world through the internet and telephone.
Voters can choose their favorite seven nominees at www.n7w.com, using the international telephone voting line, or with a personalised voting certificate.
According to New7Wonders, 261 qualified national and multinational nominees are now competing to make it to the top 77 New Seven Wonders of Nature that will be announced on July 7, 2009, based on the votes cast by the world's population.
From the 77 entries, a N7W panel of experts, led by Prof. Dr. Federico Mayor, former Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), will use a list of general criteria to choose the 21 official finalists to be announced three weeks later.
N7W said that it expected more than one billion votes by the time the results of the Official New Seven Wonders of Nature campaign are revealed in 2011.