Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sable Island: A Wild Paradise for Once-Domestic Horses

In the Canadian Maritimes, there exists a small island that is often shrouded in fog and plagued by storms. Once you reach it, however, you will be amazed by the wild beauty of the place: horses roaming free, seals swimming in peace, sand dunes sweeping the vista, and sky and water. There are a few human-made buildings, but very few people can be found there and it is generally wild. This island is called Sable Island.
I've almost always had a fascination with this mysterious isle. When I was a lot younger, I did a school project on it, and I've been determined to go there ever since. However, it  is rather difficult to obtain permission to get there-- too many humans visiting at once would unfortunately ruin the pristine beauty of the place. Eventually, however, I will find a way!

Photo Courtesy of  HiFlyChick at en.wikipedia
The "wild" horses on Sable Island aren't actually wild. Technically, they're feral; their domesticated ancestors (probably mostly taken from Acadians when they were being deported from Nova Scotia) were shipped to the island in the 18th century, and now they live in nature. The humans who do live on or visit the island aren't allowed to touch the horses, and they don't feed them. They just live amongst each other. According to Zoe Lucas, a researcher who has worked and lived on the island for about 10 years,
"[B]ecause the horses are protected, have been protected for decades, there’s no reason for them to fear people. You can make them nervous by misbehaving, but if you just behave yourself, and watch their body language, and don’t disturb them, they’ll basically — they might look at you, and then go back to grazing. [...] I mean, it’s a treasure, right? — to be around wild animals and have them ignore you. That’s basically the ultimate experience: to have a wild animal not chase you, and not be afraid of you — that’s perfect." [Source:]
Some people say that our domesticated animals would go extinct if we stopped using them for our purposes. But really, is this true? Looking at the Sable Island horses, there seems to be a truly perfect human-horse relationship. Could that be accomplished with currently domestic horses and other animals, as well?
Perhaps it could. We would have to set aside a lot of land for national parks, etc., but-- in my opinion-- we need to do this anyway to preserve the environment. Humans should stop consuming as much on individual, workplace, and industrial levels, and we should try to be more self-sufficient. Then, perhaps, we might be able to live in natural harmony with animals, as well.
Even with cows we could do this. A major argument from meat-eaters is that all the cows would go extinct if we stopped eating them. But in truth, if humanity made the transition to a vegan lifestyle over a few years, even (because there is no way we can convince every human being on Earth to go vegan overnight), people would eventually realize that certain heritage breeds of cows were going extinct, and those ones would be set up on wildlife reserves. The species of cows who have been bred to be dependent on humans would probably be phased out, but by no means would ALL cows go extinct. The same goes for pigs, chickens, and more.

Photo Courtesy of HiFlyChick at en.wikipedia

Seals also live on the island:

Harbour seals basking on north beach
© Parks Canada:

Sable Island has become a National Park in recent years, meaning that it will be protected for decades to come. It really gives me hope that humans, animals and nature will one day be able to live in harmony with each other! :)

To see some gorgeous pictures of the horses of Sable Island, check out this photographer's website:

To read first-hand accounts of visiting Sable Island, to contact Zoe Lucas, and more, please go to!

Feel free to tell me what you think! I'm always excited to hear your comments. What do YOU think we can learn from Sable Island? If you've been there, what have been your experiences? Do you think we should try to live close to nature in the way they do at Sable Island?
For me, simply thinking about Sable Island enchants the mind and warms the spirit.

Have a good week, everyone... Come back next Sunday for my next post!

1 comment:

  1. I would love to go there too! Just to observe and take lots of photos!