Mohammad Yousuf (centre), with other members of the Journalists Association, votes for Bu Tinah to become one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature at the association’s premises in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday night. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Dubai:Abu Dhabi Members of the Journalists Association in the capital cast their votes for Bu Tinah on Tuesday night and have called on their peers across the UAE to do so as well.

"It is an honour for us to cast our votes for this momentous occasion, as to have the island of Bu Tinah be selected initially as part of the competition shows that the international committee for the New Seven Wonders [of Nature] and the world have recognised our government's continued efforts to preserve and enhance our natural environment," said Mohammad Yousuf, Chairman of the Journalists Association.

The island, which is a part of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, the region's largest marine reserve, is home to a diverse ecosystem that includes endangered species such as hawksbill turtles and dugong, which some believe are the inspiration for ancient stories of mermaids. The mammals, like manatees, are closely related to elephants.

Working tirelessly

Voting for the new Seven Wonders of Nature closes on November 11, 2011.

"We are grateful for the continued support of journalists, not just in their coverage of our efforts, but now directly through the casting of their votes for Bu Tinah. We have been working tirelessly ever since the competition and the island's entry were announced two years ago… and now as a result of all these efforts, Bu Tinah in now among the 28 finalists, a great achievement for everyone," said Dr Jaber Al Jaberi, Deputy Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.

"In fact, even if Bu Tinah does not get chosen for the new Seven Wonders, we would have still won, as worldwide recognition and awareness of the island has reached unprecedented levels and that has led to increased interest in not only Bu Tinah but the UAE's overall environmental commitment," he added.

"The fact that there have been so many votes cast for Bu Tinah shows that not only are Emiratis and expatriates willing to vote for this environmental wonder, but that many people around the world have also been convinced to vote for the island, which highlights our pledge to preserve and enhance our heritage," the association's chairman said.

How to vote

For more information about the new Seven Wonders of Nature please visit http://www.new7wonders.com/

To vote for Bu Tinah, SMS BUTINAH in either English or Arabic to 3888. Each SMS counts as one vote.