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31 August 2020

 The Big 5 of Europe — Han Animal Park, 50th Anniversary

Belgium: The Big 5 of Europe — Han Animal Park, 50th Anniversary, 31 August 2020. Images from bpost.

Technical Specifications:

Europe’s Big 5
9,80 €
Theme: The glutton, the European brown bear, the wolf, the lynx and the European bison were designated European Big Five in 2014. These animals are present at the Han Caves Animal Park, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Postage stamps: a.Bison of Europe b.Brown Bear of Europe c.Lynx d.Loup e.Glouton
Leaf: Close-up of the European brown bear in front of the landscape of the Han Caves estate. Special cutout of the leaflet. Copyright Landscape Photo: Han Cave Estate
Creation: André Buzin Drawings – Layout: Kris Maes
Stamp format: a.40mm x 60mm b.70mm x 40mm c-d.30mm x 60mm e.70mm x 30mm
Leaflet format: 220mm x 165mm
Sheet composition: 5 postage stamps
Value 2 Non Prior for Belgium
For non-standardized formats up to 100g
Paper: FSC white scrubbed
Dentelure: 11 1/2
Printing process: Offset
Issue date: August 31, 2020
Repro and Print: Philately bpost and Stamps Printing

The Big 5 of Europe

Limited Postage Stamp Issue 12
Ever heard of Europe’s Big 5? The term originated in 2014 in a television program, in which the directors went in search of the European counterparts of the African Big 5. You can admire all five of them at the Caves of Han animal park. The animal park celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The perfect opportunity for this wild show.

Bpost designer Kris Maes and the painter naturalist André Buzin combined their talents. They had done this before for the show dedicated to the new Zwin in 2016 and for the leaflet issued on the occasion of 60 years of the Hautes Fagnes in 2017.

The idea for this show comes originally by André Buzin himself. “The term Big 5 of Europe is quite new and is not yet so known to the general public. In Belgium, we can only admire them in the park animal keeper of the Caves of Han domain. The Big 5 are made up of the European bison, European brown bear, wolf, lynx and glutton. The drawings that I made for this show are inspired by my own observations and photos. In the Han-sur-Lesse animal park, in particular I studied the wolf and the lynx. Drawing of the impressive European bison is also the result of the unique opportunity I had to spend a whole day in the heart of a herd of several animals in the field. This day allowed me to produce hundreds of illustrations.”

To observe other animals in full swing nature, he went abroad: “In Finland, along the border with Russia, I had the opportunity to observe and photograph the European brown bear during several days in its natural biotope, where hunting is prohibited along both sides from the border. I was able to immortalize ten different bears on almost 2,000 photos, both in the forest and in the marshes. I also have had the chance to observe the wolverine, a rare and legendary animal, in the wild. I have completed this observation in nature by photos, sketches and drawings of the couple gluttons in the animal park of Han-sur-Lesse. These have helped me a lot
draw this show, because the wolverine is an animal that absolutely cannot hold square. As for behavior and life wolf, I have been examining it closely for 25 years in the Parc de Gevaudan in the department of Lozère in France, a park precisely created for the purpose of protecting and to study the European wolf. The studies that
I realized there were very useful for make the posture of the wolf on the drawing. André Buzin made the drawings according to his favorite painting technique, to acrylic paint base.

Once the European Big 5 are animated on the postage stamps by André Buzin, it was bpost designer Kris Maes turns to develop the leaflet. “With the sketches André, I’m looking for the right composition and the right layout. I opted for a large enough perforation pattern since it these are large animals. My contribution to the entire program translates to adding a bit of wildlife and more depth. Just take a shot eye to the wild bear on the leaflet. We would almost be afraid. For the text block with ‘Big 5’, I further opted for a larger, coarser font that accentuates the wild animal character. “

The issue comes alive even more with to its cut that follows the back of the bear. The animal park is also represented on the leaflet. Kris Maes: “The photo representing a forest comes from the domain of Caves of Han ”.

European Bison (Bison bonasus):

Eurasian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos):

Eurasian Lynx (Lynx lynx):

Wolf (Canis lupus):

Wolverine (Gulo gulo):

First Day Covers:

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