Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whales of Southern Ocean

There are two groups of modern whale: the filter-feeding baleen whales, and the echo-locating toothed whales. Three families of baleen whale are represented in the Southern Ocean (rorqual, right whale and pygmy right whale), and five families of toothed whale (sperm whale, diminutive sperm whale, beaked whale, dolphin and porpoise). 
These fascinating mammals are the focus of the Ross Dependency 2010 stamp issue. Consisting of five large stamps (50mm x 30mm) with differ face value and one miniature sheet.

60c - Sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus
At up to 18 metres long for males and 12 metres for females, the sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on Earth and probably the most abundant of the large whales. Sperm whales are characterised by their substantial rectangular heads, and have the biggest brains on the planet, weighing in at a hefty 9.5 kilograms.
$1.20 - Minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata and B. Bonarensis
The minke whale is the smallest of the rorquals owing to its sharply pointed head, and is often called the ‘little piked whale’. There are two species of minke whale in the Southern Ocean: the Antarctic minke and the dwarf minke. The dwarf minke reaches about eight metres in length and has a distinctive white patch across the flipper
$1.90 - Sei whale Balaenoptera borealis
The sei whale gets its name from the Norwegian word seje, a small fish that was considered the whale’s preferred prey by Norwegian whalers. The sei whale was regarded by whalers as the sleekest and fastest of all the rorquals. Unlike the other rorquals, sei whales prefer to skim feed at the surface by swimming along with their mouths open.

$2.40 - Killer whale Orcinus orca
Killer whales, sometimes called orca, are toothed whales and the largest members of the dolphin family. They are highly distinctive with their black and white colour patterns, white eye patches and conspicuous dorsal fins. Killer whales are remarkable hunters and are sometimes referred to as the wolves of the sea.
$2.90 - Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae
The humpback whale is famous for its acrobatic leaps and remarkable songs. They reach about 17 metres in length and are easily recognised with their long, narrow flippers. The Southern Ocean humpbacks differ from those of the north Pacific by having considerably more white on their flippers and on the undersides of the throat and belly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cats on the Faroes


Cats have lived around people for many thousands of years, and are the world's most popular pets. They're also the most popular pets on the Faroes. Therefore the Faroes Post has issued the stamp features the cats to call everyone to remind it on February 21, 2011. The stamps are issued in two single stamp with differ face value depicted beautiful cats.  One reason that cats are so popular is that they fit in readily with a modern lifestyle.

Cats don't need much care, can be left on their own, and pretty much look after themselves. A cat sat on the widow sill watching something or other with its large almond-shaped eyes for hours at a time is a familiar image. Cat owners have often speculated as to what the cat finds so interesting and what it is that only it can see outside.

The Faroese domestic cat is a small animal that is little different to wild cats. It's happiest when eating, sleeping and playing. It can stand high temperatures, loves the sun and the night and is clean and agile, which it is why it is said that it always lands on its feet. The domestic cat is a mixed race. Its hair is short and often features several patterns and colours - normally including white. The most common colouration is black and white, although tabby cats and brown cats are also common. Plus, they can be any thing from one colour to many or be striped. The majority of pure-bred cats on the Faroes are long-haired, such as the Norwegian Forest Cat, Birman, Maine Coon and Persian.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Snow Leopard

The Estonia Post has issued the stamp series of zoo animal. On the year 1999, the series of zoo animal stamp issued that featured the Snow leopard or Uncia uncia . Only one single stamp and one First Day Cover issued.
The snow leopard (Uncia uncia or Panthera uncia) is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of South Asia and Central Asia. The snow leopard's habitat in central and south Asia is rugged mountainous regions of approximately 1,230,000 square kilometres (470,000 sq mi), which extends through twelve countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Snow leopards are smaller than the other big cats , exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kilograms .Body length ranges from 75 to 130 centimetres , with the tail adding an additional 75 to 90 percent of that length.The snow leopard has a short muzzle and domed forehead, containing unusual large nasal cavities that help the animal breathe the thin, cold air of their mountainous environment.
Snow leopards have long thick fur, and their base colour varies from smoky grey to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their body with small spots of the same colour on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tail. Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in colour.
Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain they inhabit. Their tails are also very thick due to storage of fats and are very thickly covered with fur which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.
Snow leopards live between 3,000 and 5,500 metres (9,800 and 18,000 ft) above sea level in the rocky mountain ranges of Central Asia. Their secretive nature means that their exact numbers are unknown, but it has been estimated that between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild and between 600 and 700 in zoos worldwide.
During summer months the species ranges on the edge of perpetual snows at an altitude of about 4 km, but it has occasionally been met even higher than 5 km. For the winter it moves a couple of kilometers downwards in the wake of its prey, mountain goats and mountain sheep.
Although protected in most of its range since several years ago, the species is still in serious straits. Under the guidance of Helsinki Zoo, successive attempts have been made at studying and breeding this spectacular cat in captivity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Banded Iguana of Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Post has issued the stamp series features the Banded Iguana in four single stamps and one souvenir sheet with specific shape consisted of two stamps on November 7, 2007. The issued stamp are support the  Vanuatu government formed the National Advisory Committee on the Environment (NACE) to remind the environmental concern.
The Banded Iguana or Brachylophus fasciatus are believed to have evolved from green iguanas that rafted on debris from South America across 11,000 kilometres of the Pacific to Fiji and then by way of introduction to other Pacific islands including Vanuatu.
Vanuatu has 19 lizard species of which 13 are skinks and 5 are geckoes. The other is the Banded Iguana and it is found only on the main island of Efate. A few kilometers out of the capital Port Vila at Mele, is the Secret Garden, which has a community of Iguana that is a natural attraction for visitors showing how the reptiles live in the wild.
The Banded Iguana is a spectacularly beautiful, large (between 60 and 80cm), emerald-green lizard, named for the highly distinctive, broad, light blue, vertical stripes on the body and tail of males. Females, by contrast, are usually uniformly green, and are smaller than the males. The extremely long tail makes up to two thirds of the lizard's total length, and is used for balance as it climbs amongst the forest branches. Being an arboreal creature, usually preferring trees and bushes with lots of branches where they can best hide themselves, they are very good at climbing and leaping through branches, and can even swim.
All Banded Iguanas are diurnal, spending their days foraging, basking and watching over their territories. At night, they climb to the treetops, and sleep with their limbs wrapped around the branches for stability. The lizards are omnivorous, subsisting on the many fruits and leaves of the forest and the abundant insect life. Male iguanas are highly visual, and aggressively defend their territories from rival males. Sexual maturity can be reached at an age of around 16 months and breeding occurs from November through January, with between 3 and 6 eggs being laid.

Due to habitat destruction and predators, populations of these iguanas internationally have been declining to the point where they were threatened with extinction. This category has now been down graded to “vulnerable”. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) however has placed the Banded Iguana on its endangered Red List (1996).
It is estimated that the Pacific population is less than 10,000 individuals. In 1987, the Vanuatu government formed the National Advisory Committee on the Environment (NACE) to address the nation's developing environmental concerns. The Estuarine Crocodile, Hawksbill Turtle, Banded Iguana, and Flying Fox were the identified threatened species, and Vanuatu Post supports this environmental concern.

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