December 1, 2022
Tom Ayers
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The list of uncommon and endangered plant and animal species found in Nova Scotia’s West Mabou Beach Provincial Park is growing.

A rare fern has been identified on land in the park, which is at the centre of a contentious proposal for a new golf course by Cabot Cape Breton.

In 2018, biologist Alain Belliveau surveyed West Mabou Beach and found 17 rare and endangered animals, plants and lichens in the park, including four birds that are listed under the provincial Endangered Species Act.

“This species being the only one found in the Maritime provinces would easily fit in as a species at risk in the Nova Scotia context. So in that way it’s quite special. You could say it’s even rarer than a species at risk would be.”

The find is significant, Belliveau said, because it demonstrates the need for continuing biodiversity surveys.

“A find like this, we don’t make them very often these days. You can go down into the rainforests in the Amazon and find new, interesting things pretty easily … but new species for the Maritime provinces, these occasions are few and far between.”

“Just the fact that it has five species at risk, which is higher than the vast majority of places in Nova Scotia, and also has a species that has never been found anywhere else in the Maritime provinces, this puts it really way up the list in terms of ecological value.”

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