Sable Island, situated about 180 km off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, may soon become a national park or a national wildlife preserve, it was announced today.
Sable Island is a narrow crescent-shaped sandbar about 42 km long and is only 1.5 km across at its widest point. The island is ecologically sensitive so today Nova Scotia's Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell and Jim Prentice, Minister Responsible for Parks Canada announced that both levels of government will take steps necessary to the protect the island for future generations.
Mr. MacDonell said in a press release, "Sable Island has long been part of Nova Scotia's history and maritime culture, and we want to ensure that this unique part of our province is preserved and protected."
Sable Island is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" due to the large number of shipwrecks recorded in the area historically.
It is more commonly known for its population of wild ponies which were introduced to the island sometime after 1738 or (around the time of the expulsion of the Acadians) and are already protected by law from human interference.
A wild pony on Sable Island. The island supports a population of almost 400 wild horses.
Mr. Prentice said in the statement, "This unique ecosystem is home to some of the rarest wildlife in Canada. It is our honour to take this step to protect it on behalf of all Canadians, forever."
The island also supports numerous migrant and breeding birds including nesting colonial water birds, herring gulls, great black backed gulls, and common terns. It also supports the world's largest congregation of breeding grey seals and harbour seals.
The move coincides with this year being the International Year of Biodiversity, a celebration that brings greater attention to the importance of protecting biodiversity around the world.