Sundarbans voted out of 7 wonders race
The four-year-long waiting of the people in Bangladesh and India to see the Sundarbans, the world's largest single-patch mangrove forest, among the new seven wonders of nature ended in frustration early today. According to the results announced, the new seven wonders in alphabetic order are Amazon, Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island, Komodo, Puerto Princesa Underground River and Table Mountain. Voting closed at 5:00pm Bangladesh time yesterday and the preliminary results came out around 1:30am today, with the Sundarbans out of the top list. The Sundarbans, extending across the Bangladesh and Paschimbanga coast, is known for its wide range of fauna and flora, including the famed Bengal Tiger but it failed to secure its position in the new seven wonders though it was among the 14 finalists. The Swiss-based New Seven Wonders Foundation announced the competition in 2007, through which anyone around the globe could cast votes via phone calls, text messages or social networks on the internet. The initiative is the first of its kind where global voting took place to pick the new wonders of nature. It may be noted that the seven wonders of the world, dating from ancient times, have historically held sway in the popular imagination. Five days before the campaign ended, the 10 sites leading the poll were the Dead Sea, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, Halong Bay, Lebanon's Jeita Grotto, South Korea's Jeju Island, Indonesia's Komodo Island, Puerto Princesa Underground River of the Philippines, the Sundarbans and Italy's Mount Vesuvius. More than 440 natural sites of 220 countries contested in the first round of the competition. The initial voting narrowed that list down to 77. Two sites in Bangladesh -- Cox's Bazar, the world's largest sea beach, and the Sundarbans, the largest deltaic mangrove forest in the world -- were among the top 77. Later, a panel of experts thinned the ranks to 28 finalists from 40 countries, with Cox's Bazar going out of contention. The recommendation of the panel was based on different criteria, including unique beauty, diversity and distribution, ecological significance, historical legacy and geo-location. After the declaration of the list of 28 finalists on July 21, 2009, the panel's job was done, and people were urged to vote for electing the top seven wonders. The Sundarbans has been in a favourable position from the beginning. Different government and non-government bodies, mobile operators and the media campaigned to vote for the Sundarbans. These efforts reached a peak in the last few days when a number of discussions, rallies and voting programmes took place in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.