This year is celebrated the 50th anniversary of the creation of the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, formerly known as the World Wildlife Fund), the world’s largest independent conversation organization. At this occasion, several postal administrations have planned to issue stamps to commemorate the event. Royal Mail (UK postal administration) is no exception. On the 22nd of Mach it has issued a set of ten stamps and one souvenir sheet.
The souvenir sheet, that contains four stamps, is dedicated to animals from the Amazon rainforest. Thank you Adrian for helping me getting the sheet that I’m glad to add to my frog stamps collection.
Each stamp pictures the emblem of the WWF, the famous panda. This symbol was chosen at the creation of the WWF in 1961, when Chi-chi a panda was moved from the Beijing Zoo to London Zoo.
The stamp in the left top corner (first class rate) also pictures the Europa symbole. The theme for Europa stamp issues of 2011 is “forest” and Royal Mail takes this opportunity to cover this at the same time than the WWF anniversary.
The stamps picture endangered animals from South America. Clockwise the species that are pictured are:
a Red-faced spider monkey (Ateles paniscus)
a hyacinth macaw (Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus)
a Poison Dart Frog
a jaguar (Pathera onca)
The Poison Dart Frog is, as you can imagine, what is interesting for me in this souvenir sheet. Poison dart frog is in fact the common name of a group of frogs in the family Dendrobatidae that are native to Central and South America. They have brightly colored bodies mainly to warn potential predators that their skin is covered with a toxic substance. The toxicity of the substance varies strongly from one species to another; In fact dart frogs do not synthesize their poison but gather the chemicals from ants, mites and other preys. This is why these frogs do not carry any poison when breed in captivity. The “poison” of some species is used sometimes fro medicinal purpose. The name “poison dart frog” makes a reference to the fact that the skin of those frogs could be used by South American Indian tribes to poison the tips of their blow darts. In fact they are using different species of frogs.
The issue from Royal Mail also contains a set of ten stamps that you can see below, picturing the following species: African Elephant, Mountain Gorilla, Siberian Tiger, Polar Bear, Amur Leopard, Iberian Lynx, Red Panda, Black Rhinoceros, African Wild Dog and the Golden Lion Tamarin.
What I find a bit surprising is the big difference in the design between the stamps and the souvenir sheet that are anyway part of the same issue. Surprising, no?
When browsing the web I also found that one of the first day cancel used for this sisue pictures a frog. Here it is.
I actually did not see any FDC yet with this postmark but I rather like it?