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British girl names coral reef in Maldives

Magyar

Zsuzsa Magyar chose the winning name of Stingray Reef for the currently unnamed coral reef off the Indian Ocean island of Nakatcha Fushi.

The name was given the approval of the country’s recently-elected president, Mohamed Nasheed.

Stingray Reef, as it has now been called, is home to one of the world’s first coral ‘cultivation’ programmes, a process described as ‘underwater gardening’.

The hope is that by implanting nursery-grown corals into the 12 hectare reef, known as ‘nubbins’, the structure will eventually establish itself as an island. More than 1,000 ‘nubbins’ have been implanted since the project started there in 2007.

Zsuzsa, from Notting Hill in west London, won the competition, which was being run at the Hay Festival in Wales.

She said: “It’s amazing, I can’t explain it. I’d be so amazed and so happy if it made an island. It seems such a big thing that from this competition there might be a Stingray Island!”

One of the advantages of the name was that it could easily be translated into the local language, Divehi, in which it will be called Madi Faru.

President Nasheed said: “I hope this competition has helped to draw people’s attention towards the plight of the world’s coral reefs, which are under grave danger from climate change.

“Names are important because they allow us to visualise a particular place.”

Reefs throughout the world are facing a battle for survival due to threats such as high sea temperatures, which can cause coral bleaching; higher sea acidity due to the increased concentration of carbon in the atmosphere; the presence of too many nutrients in the water and overfishing.

The low-lying Maldives, a string of 1,200 coral islands south of India, are at the forefront of this battle.

The competition was run over five days as part of children’s activities at the Hay Festival in Wales. Although it is primarily a literary festival it has a strong environmental programme.

Peter Florence, festival director, said: “Hay is dedicated to bringing to light some of the lesser known but equally grave impacts of climate change, via whatever means possible.”

He hoped the project would “bring the reality of the plight of the word’s oceans further to children’s attention.”

The naming came after Dr Farahanaz Faizal, High Commissioner of the Maldives, spoke at Hay on Thursday night in a talk about climate change.

Source: Telegraph.co.uk

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