US Stamps

New U.S. stamp to raise awareness of manatees March 27 in Silver Springs, Fla.

Mar 21, 2024, 9 AM

By Charles Snee

The United States Postal Service will issue a forever stamp March 27 to raise awareness of the West Indian manatee, a vulnerable marine mammal that lives in the inland waterways of Florida, as well as in warm areas of the Atlantic coast, Caribbean Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

The new nondenominated (68¢) Save Manatees stamp will debut on Manatee Appreciation Day.

An official first-day ceremony is scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern Time at Silver Springs State Park, 5656 E. Silver Springs Road, Silver Springs, Fla.

Michelle Krysiak, postmaster of the Silver Springs post office, and Patrick Rose, executive director of the Save the Manatee Club, will serve as dedicating officials.

Art McNeal, president of the General Francis Marion Stamp Club, and Linn’s Stamp News editor-in-chief Jay Bigalke will participate in the unveiling of the Save Manatees stamp.

To register for the ceremony in advance, go to the USPS website and complete the form. Each attendee may invite up to 98 additional guests, the Postal Service said.

Ceremony attendees will be able to take rides in glass-bottom boats to see manatees in the wild, the USPS said. There will also be an opportunity to adopt a manatee through the Save the Manatee Club.

The Save Manatees stamp will be available for purchase in double-sided panes of 20, and there will be an autograph session following the ceremony, according to the Postal Service.

“Every day, a West Indian manatee eats up to 10 percent of its weight in aquatic plants,” the USPS said. “Adults can reach 11 feet long and 1,500 pounds. Manatees are slow swimmers and slow to reproduce — a female has one calf at a time and may tend to it for two years.”

According to the Save the Manatee Club, West Indian manatees face a variety of threats, including algal blooms and seagrass loss, strikes from boats and watercraft, harassment and climate change.

“Over the years, researchers have attempted to identify and quantify West Indian manatee distribution, population size and causes of mortality in order to understand manatees and the threats to their survival,” the website said. “They have isolated several causes of manatee deaths, most of which are directly related to human contact or encroachment. If these sources of mortality are not controlled, manatees may become extinct.”

Artist Nancy Stahl of New York City created the graphic illustration of a manatee lolling close to the surface of the water that Postal Service art director Derry Noyes used to design the Save Manatees stamp.

“Nancy Stahl has been the illustrator of many stamps,” Noyes told Linn’s. “She understands the process and is very savvy as to how to design for such small format. The collaboration is seamless, in that we can communicate our ideas with ease.”

Noyes opted for a graphic picture instead of a photograph when she designed the stamp.

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