Will Ganga, Sunderbans be among seven wonders of nature?
London, Jan 9 (IANS) Here comes a new poll to name the seven wonders of nature, with India's Ganga river, Sundarbans mangrove forests and Kaziranga national park being some of the hot contenders.
'We know that the New7Wonders of Nature campaign will significantly raise awareness of the incredible variety and beauty of nature around us,' says the New7Wonders Foundation.
The final list of the New7Wonders of Nature will be out in 2011. Currently the nomination process is on, with 261 nominees competing to make it to the top 77.
The Ganga is considered the most holy river in India and flows through several states. The thick Sunderbans forests are home to the Royal Bengal tiger while the Kaziranga national park in Assam houses the single largest population of the one-horned rhino.
Other entries from Asia include Mount Everest, K2, the Chitwan national park, Baikal Lake and the Dead Sea.
A 'wonder of nature' must be 'a clearly defined natural site or natural monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans for aesthetic reasons. Physical or natural phenomena like the northern lights, the Gulf stream or shooting stars are not eligible', the foundation said.
It can be a natural site, a natural monument or landscape.
In 2007, there was frenzied voting for the New Seven Wonders of the World campaign, which led to the Taj Mahal emerging a winner.
'The campaign to choose The Offcial New7Wonders of the World was a resounding success, in which more than 100 million votes were cast and which took democracy to a new, global level,' says the foundation.
'As our slogan says, 'If we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it!' This is something that is very important - more awareness and more tourism income mean these natural treasures can be better preserved for future generations,' it says.
Voting for nominees will continue till July 7, 2009. Then a panel of experts, led by Federico Mayor, former Unesco director-general, will review the top 77 nominees and choose the 21 finalists, to be announced July 21.
These 21 finalists will be put to popular vote in July 2009. Voting will continue throughout 2010 and into 2011. During this time, the New7Wonders World Tour will visit each of the finalists to allow them to present themselves to the voters across the globe.
Other than the Ganga, Sunderbans, the Kaziranga national park, the 261 nominations include the following from Asia:
Al-hasa Oasis (Saudi Arabia)
Ein Gedi, Oasis (Israel)
Liwa Oasis and Empty Quarter (Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen)
Mesopotamian Marshes, Wetlands (Iraq)
Singing Dunes (Kazakhstan)
Wadi Rum, Desert (Jordan)
Bu Tinah Shoals (UAE)
Coloane Island (Macao)
Failaka Island (Kuwait)
Jaco Island (Timore-Leste)
Jeju Island (South Korea)
Ko Phi Phi, Island (Thailand)
Maldives, Archipelago (Maldives)
Mergui Archipelago (Myanmar)
Sipadan Island (Malaysia)
Socotra, Archipelago (Yemen)
Baekdu Mountain (China/North Korea)
Gangkhar Puensum (Bhutan)
Lenin Peak (Kyrgyzstan/Tajikistan)
Mount Damavand (Iran)
Mount Everest (Nepal)
Mount Fuji (Japan)
Mount Kumgang (North Korea)
Yu Shan (Chinese Taipei)
Amah Rock (Hong Kong)
Cappadocia, Rock Formation (Turkey)
Flaming Cliffs (Mongolia)
Jeita Grotto (Lebanon)
Kugitang Caves (Turkmenistan)
Mud Volcanoes (Azerbaijan)
National parks and natural reserves
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (Singapore)
Chitwan, National Park (Nepal)
Komodo National Park (Indonesia)
Nam Ha National Park (Lao)
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River (Philippines)
Zaamin National Park (Uzbekistan)
Sinharaja Rainforest (Sri Lanka)
Tree of Life (Bahrain)
Mekong (Cambodia, China, Lao, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam)
Dead Sea (Israel, Jordan, Palestine)
Issyk Kul (Kyrgizstan)
Khawr al Udayd (Qatar)
Lake al-Jabbul (Syria)
Lake Saiful Maluk (Pakistan)
Lake Sevan (Armenia)
Pangong Lake (China/India)
Tasek Merimbun (Brunei Daressalam)
Yak Loum Lake (Cambodia)
Blue Hole (Guam)
Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Soloman Islands, Timor-Leste)
Cox's Bazar, Beach (Bangladesh)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Musandam Peninsula (Oman)
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