Twenty Newfoundland ponies are on their way back to the island from British Columbia.

Cle Newhook, the president of the Newfoundland Pony Society, discovered in the spring that the ponies' owner on the west coast had fallen on hard times.

Newfoundland ponies

These are some of the 20 rescued Newfoundland ponies that are making their way from B.C. to the island. (Submitted photo)

​Newhook said private donors helped cover the $40,000 cost of transporting the ponies to Newfoundland.

"It was clear that unless something was done, that a number of them were probably going to die or be seized," he said. 

"We didn't want that; we couldn't afford to let that happen, so we took the gamble and we put together the plan, and, man, it's working."

The animals have made it as far as Nova Scotia, where they'll stay until arrangements for their new homes are finalized.

Some of the ponies may stay in that province to help preserve the population there. But most of the animals already have homes lined up in Newfoundland.

Newhook said there are many reasons why people love the pony breed.

"They're gentle, they have a wonderful disposition, they have very deep set eyes [and] furry ears," he said.

There are only about 400 Newfoundland ponies left in the entire world.

Bringing the 20 ponies back to the island will enhance the genetic diversity of the local populations, and will go a long way towards preserving the beloved breed.