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Sable Island
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Sable Island

Sable Island, created during the last ice age, harbours an unparalleled variety of plant and animal life. Due to its unique character, this place has been described as a northern version of the Galapagos Islands.

A sandy crescent

Located 300 km off the coast of Halifax, Canada, far out in the North Atlantic, Sable Island appears as a thin crescent about 1.3 km in width and 41 km from tip to tip. Its face is constantly reshaped by storms, winds and ocean currents. The island is shrouded in fog up to 200 days a year.

A treeless environment

Of the 177 plant species found on Sable Island, 135 are indigenous. Due to extreme winds, vegetation grows along the ground, and no trees are found here. Plants such as ammophila (beach grass) play a key role on the island. By holding the sand together and stabilizing the dunes, this plant creates moist habitats sheltered from the wind and helping maintain biodiversity.

Wildlife refuge

Sable Island is a sanctuary for numerous animal species. Over 300 species of birds, including 12 nesting birds, take advantage of this stopover amid the vast North Atlantic. The island also hosts the world’s largest colony of grey seals. Even more surprising, horses of domestic origin have thrived there since the early 1800’s. Having returned to a wild state, these horses today form a population of about 300 individuals.

Oases of fresh water

Several small ponds scattered among the dunes capture water from rain and snow, forming oases of fresh water vital to the horses’ survival. Insects, birds and fish living on the island also benefit from this unique ecosystem.

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