Since December 2007, Costa Rica´s Isla de Coco has been in the running to become one of the new seven wonders of nature that are scheduled to be announced in 2011 by the New7Wonders foundation.
The island made the list of 77 finalists, after over 440 locations around the world were originally nominated and voted upon online. After it became one of the final 77, a “panel of experts,” according to the New7Wonders Web site, narrowed the list down to 28 finalists on Tuesday.
The Isla de Coco did not make the final 28.
The panel of experts consisted of, appropriately, seven panelists, ranging from a former director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to a famous nature cameraman and television personality. They based their decision on five criteria: unique beauty of the site, diversity contained on site, ecological significance, historical legacy, and geo-location (distribution of the sites evenly across the continents).
Among those places that did make the cut were the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Amazon Rain Forest, Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Dead Sea, the Galapagos Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
The final decision will be determined by votes by phone or via Internet. The New7Wonders Web site said it expects more than a billion votes to be cast before the final seven are made known in 2011.
The Isla de Coco sits 532 kilometers off Costa Rica´s Pacific coast. It contains only 24 square kilometers of land resting above the surface of the Pacific – the exposed cone of its volcanic formation. It remains a well protected marine sanctuary, as well, with 1,997 square kilometers of marine ecosystem, according to New7Wonders.
The New7Wonders Web site reads: “Due to its isolation and state of conservation, with its unique biological diversity, (the Isla de Coco) is ideal for conducting research about the evolution of species and environmental monitoring processes.”