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Sable Island, National Park Reserve, Nova Scotia

Episode: 4 Explore Canada: One Ocean Expeditions
Title: Sable Island, National Park Reserve, Nova Scotia
Broadcast: January 13th 2018
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane

On the edge of the Continental Shelf in the North Atlantic, sits beautiful and tranquil Sable Island; a vegetated sand bar approximately 300km off the coast of Halifax.

  • It is roughly 40km in length, and a little over one kilometre at its widest point. The Island’s unique topography and dune system owe their existence to the sand-anchoring properties of vegetation.
  • Approximately one third of the island is vegetated and most of the native flora of Sable Island is typical to similar dune environments found along the eastern North American seaboard.
  • From about the 16th century, domestic animals, including horses, cattle, goats and rabbits, have been released onR32;the island. Little is known of the ecology prior to this period.
  • Currently, the only introduced mammal on the island is the feral horse. The horses are believed to have been introduced sometime around 1740. Latest estimates place their numbers at around 350.
  • The horses are dependent upon the island’s vegetation for their nutrition, but supplement their diet with kelp and seaweed that wash up on the beach.
  • The island is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of grey seals. There is also a small resident population of harbour seals.
  • Sable Island is part of a key migratory flyway, with numerous bird species (over 350) recorded. These include species similar to those found on the mainland.
  • Sable Island also has a history as a graveyard of ships, with more than 350 ships falling victim to the treacherous currents and sandbars.
  • This island is a beautiful, desolate and isolated island and there’s really something here for every fitness level and every age.

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