World Stamps

Zebra seahorse, silky shark grace 25th UNPA Endangered Species series

Feb 10, 2018, 4 AM

By Molly Goad

On the eve of World Wildlife Day, the United Nations Postal Administration will issue a set of stamps to celebrate 25 years of its Endangered Species series on March 2.

Since 1993, the stamp series has represented the need for endangered species protection. The plants and animals featured on the stamps come from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an agreement between governments to safeguard trade in specimens of wild animals and plants.

According to CITES, roughly 5,800 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants are protected by the agreement.

The U.N. stamps will be issued in panes of 16, each with four se-tenant (side-by-side) designs. There is a separate pane for each U.N. post office.

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The four $1.15 stamps for use from the U.N. headquarters in New York City feature the beautiful red-crested turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus), a fruit-eating bird endemic to western Angola; Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri), a colorful salamander from the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran; goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), a perennial herb native to southeastern Canada and the eastern United States; and the Andean hairy armadillo (Chaetophractus nationi), an armadillo endemic to Bolivia and northern Chile.

The four 1.50-franc stamps for use from the U.N. post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, depict illustrations of the saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), a bulbous-nosed inhabitant of the open dry steppe grasslands and semi-arid deserts of central Asia; succulent sesame (Uncarina grandidieri), a bright yellow flower originating from Madagascar; the vibrant Cuban land snail (Polymita picta); and the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), named for its smooth skin.

The €0.80 stamps for use from the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, consist of the hoodia (Hoodia pilifera), a leafless fat-stemmed succulent; Malagasy painted mantella (Mantella madagascariensis), a frog endemic to Madagascar; an Assam roofed turtle (Pangshura sylhetensis) found in parts of India and Bangladesh; and the zebra seahorse (Hippocampus zebra), a back-and-white striped seahorse found only in waters near Australia.

After using photographs for the past couple of years, UNPA has returned to featuring illustrations of animals on this year’s Endangered Species stamps.

Rorie Katz of the United Nations designed the new stamps, using illustrations by Rhonda Nass of the United States ($1.15 stamps), Bridgid Edwards of the United Kingdom (1.50fr stamps) and Juan Munos of Spain (0.80 stamps).

Joh. Enschede of the Netherlands printed the stamps by offset lithography in the following quantities: 16,000 panes of the $1.15; 17,000 panes of the 1.50fr; and 19,000 panes of the €0.80.

Each stamp measures 39.2 millimeters by 28.6mm and is perforated gauge 12½ by 12¾.

The designs of the panes are similar to most of the previous issues in the series. The selvage includes a border design of silhouettes of different endangered species. Shown in the four corners of each pane is one of the species featured on the stamps. Pictured on both sides of each pane is the U.N. emblem with the year date “2018” and “CITES” below it.

For more information about the Endangered Species stamps, visit the website; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.

In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that World Wildlife Day would be observed annually on March 3, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The purpose of the day is to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora.

To learn more about this year’s World Wildlife Day, click here