BAT Weddel Seal - Special Cover With Marine Animal Stamps

BAT Weddel Seal - Ofiicial FDC

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BAT Weddel Seal - Special Cover With Marine Animal Stamps

BRITISH ANTARCTIC TERRITORY – WWF STAMP ISSUE

These British Antarctic Territory marine animal stamps were affixed to specially designed Official First Day Cover envelopes and postmarked on the first day that the stamps were issued. Very good collecting item for the Antarctic and Marine Animal stamp collectors.

BAT Weddel Seal – Official First Day Cover

4p Ross seal

The Ross seal (Ommatophoca rossi) was discovered by Sir James Clark Ross, commander of the ships Erebus and Terror during the British An-tarctic Expedition of 1838-43. The species is instantly recognisable from the short snout set on a wide head and the longitudinal striping on die front part of the body. Squid form the main diet although some fish and even krill may also be taken. Adult males grow up to 2m long and weigh over 200 kg. The Ross seal is found only within the pack ice of the Southern Ocean and has a circumpolar distribution. They are usually solitary and little is known about their biology or the size of populations. It is the least known of the southern seals. The population is estimated to be 220,000. It is a specially protected species under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.

5p Adelie penguin

The Ade”lie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a small stocky penguin whh distinctive white eyelids. It is the southernmost of the three species of’ ‘brush-tailed” penguins confined to islands and coasts within the northern limits of the pack-ice. The majority breed in large colonies on the continental shores of Antarctica. They require open water close to breeding colonies in January and February to allow parents to forage mainly for fish. During courtship there are striking visual and vocal displays as males try to attract mates to a nest site. Pairs will often stay togemer over several successive breeding seasons and birds will return to areas close to the parental nest site to breed themselves. Two eggs are laid, but only in years when food is plentiful will both chicks be raised. Chick mortality is high and this is associated with predation by scavengers such as skuas.

7p Weddell seal

The Weddell seal (Leptonchotes weddeUi) was named after the British sealing captain James Weddell who made a voyage of exploration in 1923 to the southernmost point in the western sector of Antarctica. The species was described from specimens collected during Weddell’s expedition.

It has a circumpolar distribution and, while it occurs throughout the pack region, it prefers to breed in colonies beside cracks in the fast ice in the late winter. It is one of the deepest divers amongst the seals with dives of over 600m and 40 min duration having been recorded. A small colony of Weddell seals is present at South Georgia where pupping takes place on beaches. Tagging studies have shown that individuals tend to return to the same areas to breed each year. Its diet is mainly fish, such as the Antarctic cod and ice fish. The species is protected under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.

29p Emperor penguin

The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the largest of the penguins, standing over a metre in height. It is also the penguin species which occurs at the most southern latitudes. It breeds on winter fast ice when temperatures are – 30°C and high winds are frequent. Feeding takes place within the heavy pack ice or from areas in fast ice where there is permanently open water. During breeding, parents alternate incubation of the single egg during which time males fast for 120 days. Birds often walk 300 km over fast ice from the breeding colony to the ice edge and, when conditions allow, they will swim up to 900 km from the colony. During cold periods, chicks form huddles of up to 5000 birds to provide protection against the cold and the wind. The main food is small fish such as the Antarctic silverfish. The main predator is the leopard seal which stalks these penguins around holes in the ice. To avoid these seals, emperor penguins can swim at speeds of up to 8 metres per second over short distances.

34p Crabeater seal

The crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus) is die most abundant seal in the world with total numbers of about 13 million. It inhabits the pack ice and, contrary to its name, does not eat crabs. Instead, its main prey is the Antarctic krill and the crabeater has specially adapted teeth which allows it to sieve krill from the water. It will also feed on fish and squid.

Pups are born in the late winter; mothers give birth on floes and are then joined by a male to form a triad which is maintained until the females are ready for mating 15-20 days after birth. Males compete for females and often carry the scars associated with fighting. Pups are a major source of food for leopard seals and the scars resulting from leopard seal attacks can often be seen. Crabeater seals appear to move with the drift of the pack ice. Concentrations of juveniles can occur during the breeding season. The species is protected under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.

68p Chinstrap penguin

The chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) is the smallest of the species of “brush-tailed” penguins. They are concentrated in the South American sector of Antarctica and most occur in the southern islands of the Scotia Arc, mainly north of the ice edge. Some also occur in the subantarctic at South Georgia. It is probably the most abundant of any penguin species with an estimated world population of about 8 million pairs. Numbers are probably increasing. Chinstraps form breeding colonies of over 100,000 pairs but can also be found on the periphery of gentoo and Adllie penguin colonies. The chinstrap feeds on krill and lays two eggs. Pairs re-occupy their old nest sites in successive years.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Designer: Andrew Robinson (Virgil Pomfret Agency)

Process: Lithography

Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd

Stamp Size: 27.94×44.45mm

Pane: 50 (2×25)

Perforation: 14 per 2cm

Watermark: CA Spiral Old

Values: 4p, 5p, 7p, 29p, 34p, and 68p

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