Almotamar.net, Alarab online
- Alarab online-Yemen urged its people to back the nomination of Socotra Island to become one of the New7Wonders of natural monuments and sites to be announced on August 08, 2008.
Socotra is a 3625 km˛ island located in the Indian Ocean, some 450 km south of the Yemeni economic city of Aden but it is a part of Hadramout province of Yemen.
With estimated population 45,000, Socotra Island has three geographical terrains: the narrow coastal plains, a limestone plateau permeated with karstic caves, and the Haggier Mountains which rise to 5000 feet.
The climate is generally tropical desert, with rainfall being light, seasonal (winter) and more abundant at the higher ground in the interior than along the coastal lowlands.
The monsoon season brings strong winds and high seas causing a difficult marine accessibility from June to September.
However, in July 1999 a new airport opened Socotra to the outside year round.
The long geological isolation of Socotra and its fierce heat and drought have combined to create a unique and spectacular endemic flora.
Thanks to its strategic site, Tourism Minister Nabil al-Faqih stated that Socotra Island has been chosen to participate in a competition on the New 7 Wonders of nature run by the Swiss foundation "New 7 wonder" via the Internet.
Al-Faqih said that the ministry had finished necessary procedures to register Socotra on the nominations list of the Swiss foundation for rivaling on the list of new 7 Wonders of nature.
Hadramout's governor Abdullah Hajir affirmed that the nomination of Socotra to become one of the new7wonders of nature would create more opportunities for tourist investment and development particularly after surveys have revealed that more than a third of the 800 or so plant species of the island are found nowhere else. Botanists rank the flora of Socotra too among the ten most endangered island flora in the world.
One of the most striking of Socotra's plants is the dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which is a strange-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Its red sap was the dragon's blood of the ancients, sought after as a medicine and a dye.
The island also has a fairly rich bird fauna, including a few types of endemic birds, such as the Socotra Starling Onychognathus frater, the Socotra Sunbird Chalcomitra balfouri, Socotra Sparrow Passer insularis and Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus.
Fourteen mammal and 175 bird species that live today on the island have been recorded as endemic species. Being virtually isolated from the rest of the world for a long period, Socotra remains one of the most fascinating places on earth.
Its unique character with greatest Biological diversity makes Socotra a potential candidate for designation as one of the new 7 wonders of nature.
The nominations will actually go on for one year and then a panel of experts will create a list of 21 natural wonders from which voters worldwide will elect the new7wonders of nature.
The voters could nominate Socotra on the Swiss foundation's website www.natural7wonders.com from now until 08.08.08.