BU TINAH ISLAND, a place where nature is still undisturbed, an island where one can find animals which are near to extinction and a place with wonders you have never seen before.
Located just about 130 km west of Abu Dhabi is this miracle of an island. A horse-shoe shaped land formation makes up the whole of Bu Tinah Island. It has an area of 4,000 sq.km.
So what makes Bu Tinah island a special place to visit ?
Bu Tinah’s specialty is that it is the home to some of the most endangered species of animals and birds who visit this small island every year. The most frequently seen are the Dugongs. In fact, this island has the highest density of Dugongs per sq.mtr. and the second largest in the world. The dugongs are large marine mammals that are on the verge of extinction. These animals love the undisturbed natural habitat of Bu Tinah and are often see on its beaches. Along with these dugongs, there are also a number of bird species which are seen in Bu Tinah which they use as a migratory stopover. Some of these species are the Bridled and while-cheeked Tern stopover, the western-reef Heron, the asprey and the endangered Socotra Cormorant along with the ever present flamingoes. In all, about 20,000 to 25,000 birds make their annual retreat through this island paradise.
Another feature of Bu Tinah island is the long stretch of almost 7-metre high mangrove trees. These make the island a very attractive place to see. Along with these, the island has a diverse species of Dolphins which include the Indo-pacific humpback, bottlenose and the common dolphins and some endangered species of turtles like the hawksbills and greens. Around 600 Hawksbill are born each year on the beaches of Bu Tinah.
Bu Tinah also has a beautiful array of colorful coral reefs which add to its beauty along with a vast marine life and numerous species of fishes in its waters. These coral reefs survive even in harsh conditions such as the salinity of the Gulf waters. As many as 16 species of coral reefs are found in healthy conditions on the island. There are around 3 species of sea-grass and 21 species of marine algae in Bu Tinah.
This island paradise is, in fact, a part of the Marwah Marine Biosphere Reserve (MMBR). This is a UNESCO recognized site from 2001. It can be defined as a site vital for the harmonious relationship between nature and human activities. This island provides scientists vital information regarding climatic changes and ecosystem as a whole. This island is closed to visitors so as to keep its natural surroundings undisturbed. Fishing and turtle egg collection is also banned. These steps are taken to keep Bu Tinah as eco-friendly as possible and to preserve its varied marine and ecological importance from human impact.
Now the good news is that Bu Tinah Island has been short listed to 28 finalists among 447 sites as the new 7 wonders of the world. This is to be declared on November 11, 2011. The EAD or Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi has encouraged people to vote for this magnificent island to be one of the ‘NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD.’
So the next time you visit Abu Dhabi, take a short break and make sure to visit this wonderful island.