World Stamps

United Nations continues Endangered Species series

Apr 9, 2024, 8 AM
The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a new set of 12 Endangered Species stamps April 26. The four $1.55 stamps show a giant guitarfish, Anatolian orchid, clouded leopard and straw-headed bulbul. The Endangered Species series began in 1993.

By David Hartwig

The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a new set of 12 Endangered Species stamps April 26.

Since 1993, the Endangered Species stamp series has emphasized the need for protection of plants and animals listed on the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Known as CITES, the convention is an international agreement among governments to safeguard trade in specimens of wild animals and plants.

CITES organizes species into three appendices based on levels of protection, with species most endangered listed in Appendix I and species that may become threatened listed in Appendix II. Appendix III lists species that are protected by at least one country that has asked other countries to assist in controlling their trade.

Like previous stamps in this series, the new stamps are 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.

The four $1.55 stamps for the post office at U.N. headquarters in New York City show giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis), Anatolian orchid (Orchis anatolica), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and straw-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus).

The giant guitarfish can be found in the western Indian Ocean, Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. With a demand for the fins and meat of the giant guitarfish, its populations have been reduced due to overfishing and habitat degradation.

CITES currently lists giant guitarfish in its appendix of species that might become threatened without trade controls. Conservation efforts involve implementing stricter fishing regulations, establishing protected marine areas and raising awareness to reduce demand for its products.

The Anatolian orchid is native to areas in the eastern Mediterranean, such as Crete, Cyprus and Greece. Threats to the plant include habitat loss caused by urbanization, agriculture and deforestation. CITES lists this plant in Appendix II.

CITES lists the clouded leopard on its appendix of species most endangered. Threats to the feline species include loss and fragmentation of its native forest habitats in and around Southeast Asia, poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Efforts to conserve the clouded leopard involve habitat protection, anti-poaching measures, community education and research to better understand its ecology and behavior.

The straw-headed bulbul, a songbird found in Southeast Asia from the Malay Peninsula to Borneo, faces threats from habitat loss and illegal trapping due to its singing ability.

The straw-headed bulbul is critically endangered, and CITES lists the bird in Appendix II. Conservation strategies include habitat restoration, law enforcement to combat poaching and illegal trade, and community engagement to raise awareness about the species’ plight.

The four 1.90-franc stamps for the post office at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, show an Itaituba river stingray (Potamotrygon albimaculata), aloewood (Aquilaria malaccensis), vicuna (Vicugna vicugna) and shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).

The Itaituba river stingray derives its name from the city of Itaituba on the Tapajos River in Brazil. CITES lists this stingray in Appendix III because of its vulnerability due to overfishing and habitat degradation caused by deforestation, pollution and dam construction.

Conservation efforts include habitat restoration, regulation of fishing activities, and community involvement in sustainable resource management.

CITES lists the critically endangered aloewood tree as a species that may become threatened. The plant’s fragrant resin is valued in the perfume industry, and overexploitation threatens its survival.

Conservation actions involve strict enforcement of logging bans, habitat protection, and cultivation of aloewood in agroforestry systems.

The vicuna resides in the high elevations of the Andes in South America and is the smallest living member of the camel family. Hair from the animal has the second smallest fiber diameter of all animal hair, and vicuna wool is the most expensive legal wool.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, heavy hunting pressure reduced the species’ population to 10,000 in the middle of the 20th century, but numbers have rebounded to 350,000 today. CITES specifies that vicuna wool must come from the shearing of live animals and lists vicuna from some regions in Appendix I and some in Appendix II.

Overfishing by both sport and commercial fisheries threatens the shortfin mako shark, leading CITES to regulate its international trade. Other conservation measures focus on implementing fishing quotas, reducing bycatch (a fish caught unintentionally), and promoting sustainable seafood consumption.

The €1.50 stamps illustrate a scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), Cilician bee orchid (Ophrys cilicica), guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and white-rumped shama (Copsychus malabaricus). These four stamps are for the post office at the Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria. …

For ordering information on these stamps and related products, visit the UNPA website; email; telephone 212-963-7684 or 800-234-8672; or write to UNPA, Box 5900, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163-5900.

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