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Endangered Newfoundland Ponies recognised in stamp

May 17, 2009

The stamp featuring the Newfoundland Pony.

The contribution of the Newfoundland Pony to the early settlement of Newfoundland has been recognised by Canada Post in a stamp.

The stamp was officially unveiled yesterday in a ceremony at Government House in St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Today marks a milestone for the Newfoundland Pony and ensures it will have a permanent place in Newfoundland and Canadian history," said Harry Hutchings, president of the Newfoundland Pony Society.

The ancestors of the Newfoundland Pony arrived in Newfoundland with early settlers from Britain. These animals were hardy creatures, already well adapted to the harsh climate on the islands in the North Atlantic.

Over subsequent centuries, with little outside influence, the hardiest of these early pony immigrants to Newfoundland interbred and eventually evolved into the Newfoundland Pony.

"I am particularly pleased to see the Newfoundland Pony shown on the stamp against the rough cliffs of Newfoundland," said Hutchings. "It reflects the harsh climate where these ponies survived and worked for the benefit of our ancestors."

"I am also pleased to see the cancellation stamp on the First Day Cover being Change Islands, Newfoundland where the people of this community have built and are maintaining a sanctuary for Newfoundland Ponies today.

Newfoundland Ponies were used to plough gardens; haul fishing nets and wood; gather hay; and provide their owners with transportation about the island.

The Canadian Horse and the Newfoundland Pony: these stamps honour two strong, sturdy and much-valued contributors to the early settlement of Canada.

When these functions were replaced by modern technology in the 20th century and the animals were no longer allowed to roam freely, their population plummeted from over 12,000 to fewer than 100.

To protect this special and historic pony, the Newfoundland Government in 1997 recognised it as a Heritage Animal. The current Newfoundland Pony population totals fewer than 400 animals, with only 225 animals today of breeding age, with only 75 remaining in Newfoundland.

"We need more people in Newfoundland and elsewhere to own and breed the Newfoundland Pony. Without renewed interest in keeping ponies, the bloodlines of the Newfoundland Pony will soon disappear from our Province and elsewhere." said Hutchings.

The Newfoundland Pony remains a critically endangered species. The Newfoundland Pony has many desirable characteristics including strength, stamina, courage, intelligence, obedience, willingness, and common sense. Newfoundland Ponies are known to be hard workers and easy keepers.

The Newfoundland Pony Society began in 1979 in Newfoundland and continues today as a volunteer operated organization that seeks to preserve, protect and promote the Newfoundland Pony through fund raising and donations.

The official unveiling of the stamp was carried out by Lieutenant Governor John Crosbie, Robert Waite, who is senior vice-president of Canada Post, Hutchings.



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