Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
By Jorge Silva
Once your eyes go below the ocean waterline, you know that there is an immense parallel universe brimming with images.
The Dead Sea is among 14 finalists in a global internet vote next year to choose the 7 wonders of the natural world, organisers said on Tuesday August 25, 2009.
The famously salty lake at the lowest point in the world is in the running for a place alongside spectacular natural phenomena such as the Amazon River, the Galapagos Islands, the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Dead Sea is shared by Israel, Jordan and the occupied West Bank. It was almost eliminated from the contest (www.new7wonders.com) earlier this year when Middle East politics blocked their required cooperation.
But a last-minute compromise allowed the candidacy to proceed to the next stage. Final results are due in 2011, by which time the organisers expect one billion people will have voted online.
Should the world celebrate the 200th anniversary today of the birth of English naturalist Charles Darwin by working to limit the number of tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica to protect their spectacular wildlife?
So "Lonesome George" might become a Dad?
In lists of endangered creatures such as black rhinos, orang utans, tigers or blue whales, "Lonesome George" has long had the saddest status as the only one known survivor of the Pinta island species of Galapagos giant tortoise.