Canada seeks to turn Sable Island into national park

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The Independent Online

The Canadian government is seeking to list Sable Island, renowned for shipwrecks and unlikely wild horses off the coast of Nova Scotia, as a national park, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Tuesday.

The government "will take the necessary steps to explore how Sable Island could be designated as a national park under the Canada National Parks Act," he said in a statement.

The goal is "the long-lasting protection of Sable Island, its majestic horses and some of the rarest birds and wildlife in Canada by designating it a national park."

The 40-kilometer (25 mile) long island supports numerous migratory birds, including species at risk such as the Roseate tern and Ispwich Savannah Sparrow, as well as up to 400 wild horses, Environment Canada said.

Hidden by waves, storms and fog, the sandy strip in the cold Atlantic Ocean has recorded more than 350 shipwrecks since 1583.

Many believed the island's wild horses were shipwreck survivors, but according to the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History they were abandoned after a Boston merchant shipped them to the island in 1760.

Prentice said Mik'maq aboriginals and other stakeholders were being consulted on the park plan.