Corniche dome to boost ‘Vote Bu Tinah’ drive

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Corniche dome to boost ‘Vote Bu Tinah’ drive

The large white dome that has been placed on the Abu Dhabi Corniche for a while now will finally open for the public today and unveil its content: a replica of Bu Tinah island!


Silvia Radan

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Published: Fri 30 Sep 2011, 8:38 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:01 AM

Created by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Bu Tinah Experience will open just 41 days before the voting closes for the New Seven Wonders of the Natural World, of which the famed natural reserve island in Al Gharbia is a finalist, the only one standing from this region.

“We created the Bu Tinah Experience to give people the opportunity to see a small part of the natural heaven that is Bu Tinah Island,” said Thabit Abdessalaam, director of Biodiversity Management at the EAD.

“It is our hope that this interactive experience will inspire and motivate UAE residents to support the Vote Bu Tinah campaign.”

The 16-metre-high, 12.5-metre-wide dome, weighing 1.3 tonnes features one of the best and largest pools for turtle rehabilitation. Built on site, the 20-metre-long pool will be a temporary home for about five Hawksbill turtles, which are an endangered species.

“We usually rescue the turtles that are reported injured by boats or infested with barnacles, we get the vets to see them and once recovered, we place them in a rehabilitation pool for about two weeks before returning them to the see,” explained Al Abdessalaam.

So far, the EAD has been working with various partners to host the turtles that needed rehabilitation, but there are plans now to open a special such centre in Abu Dhabi.

The 50-cubic-metre tank built inside the dome uses clean seawater, which is filter cleaned again before entering the pool, and five per cent of which is being returned to the sea every hour. At the end of the pool, a nursery of 100 baby mangroves are planted, which eventually will be transferred to other locations in Abu Dhabi.

In the middle of the dome, a fairly large model of Bu Tinah island showcases the models of some of its most prominent species, which are perfectly reproduced.

“The dugong, the dolphin, the Socotran Cormorant, the Osprey, the flamingo and the turtle are all life-size reproductions, made by some of the best professionals in the world, who also work on models for Hollywood,” said Eduardo Goncalves, director of Environmental Awareness at the EAD.

Some of them, like the turtle, are even built with mechanical features to allow them small movements.

Each of these species, dotting the Bu Tinah island model, has a panel in front of it illuminating it and offering information in Arabic and English about this specific creature. A video screen will also run documentary films about each of these animals and birds, as well as a general one about Bu Tinah. The latest photos taken of the island are also on display, to give people a fresher encounter with the island.

“Most people are not fortunate enough to see Bu Tinah, as the island is closed to the public in order to preserve its ecosystem, so we are bringing Bu Tinah to them,” said Goncalves.

“This Experience is not just about the end of a campaign to get more votes for Bu Tinah; it’s more about the beginning of a new push to create more awareness that will change people’s behaviour towards the environment.”

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people are expected to visit the Bu Tinah Experience, which will remain opened until November 13 (10am to 10pm daily). Later on, the dome’s content is likely to become part of the EAD’s first environmental education centre, which is yet to be planned.

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