Issue Date: 11 March 2021
Designer: Sara Menon
Sheet Composition: sheets of 10 stamps for each design; miniature sheet of 2 stamps (just the EUROPA stamps)
Stamp Size: 30mm x 40mm
Printing Method: Offset lithography
Europa stamps, bearing the official logo, are issued every year by the members of PostEurop, the trade association which represents the interests of European public postal operators. Each year a theme is set for members to interpret and illustrate on a set of stamps; in 2021 the theme is Endangered National Wildlife.
As an island, Jersey is both a home and a resting point for a multitude of birds and sea creatures. Six species of marine life that have been spotted in the waters and around the coastal areas of Jersey have been featured across this set of stamps. The animals have been painted by natural science illustrator Sara Menon. The 54p and £1.05 stamps feature the Europa logo.
The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica), also known as the common puffin, is a species of seabird in the auk family. It is the only puffin native to the Atlantic Ocean; two related species, the tufted puffin and the horned puffin, are found in the northeastern Pacific. The Atlantic puffin breeds in Québec, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and the Faroe Islands, and as far south as Maine in the west and France in the east. The Atlantic Puffin is most commonly found on the Westman Islands, Iceland. Although it has a large population and a wide range, the species has declined rapidly, at least in parts of its range, resulting in it being rated as vulnerable by the IUCN. On land, it has the typical upright stance of an auk. At sea, it swims on the surface and feeds mainly on small fish, which it catches by diving under water, using its wings for propulsion.
This puffin has a black crown and back, pale grey cheek patches and white underparts. Its broad, boldly marked red and black beak and orange legs contrast with its plumage. It molts while at sea in the winter and some of the bright-coloured facial characteristics are lost, with color returning again during the spring. The external appearance of the adult male and female are identical, though the male is usually slightly larger. The juvenile has similar plumage, but its cheek patches are dark grey. The juvenile does not have brightly coloured head ornamentation, its bill is narrower and is dark-grey with a yellowish-brown tip, and its legs and feet are also dark. Puffins from northern populations are typically larger than in the south and these populations are generally considered a different subspecies.
Spending the autumn and winter in the open ocean of the cold northern seas, the Atlantic puffin returns to coastal areas at the start of the breeding season in late spring. It nests in clifftop colonies, digging a burrow in which a single white egg is laid. The chick mostly feeds on whole fish and grows rapidly. After about 6 weeks, it is fully fledged and makes its way at night to the sea. It swims away from the shore and does not return to land for several years.
Colonies are mostly on islands with no terrestrial predators, but adult birds and newly fledged chicks are at risk of attacks from the air by gulls and skuas. Sometimes, a bird such as an Arctic skua will harass a puffin arriving with a beakful of fish, causing it to drop its catch. The striking appearance, large colourful bill, waddling gait, and behavior of this bird have given rise to nicknames such as “clown of the sea” and “sea parrot”. It is the official bird symbol for the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), is a species of oceanic turtle distributed throughout the world. It is a marine reptile, belonging to the family Cheloniidae. The average loggerhead measures around 90 cm (35 in) in carapace length when fully grown. The adult loggerhead sea turtle weighs approximately 135 kg (298 lb), with the largest specimens weighing in at more than 450 kg (1,000 lb). The skin ranges from yellow to brown in color, and the shell is typically reddish brown. No external differences in sex are seen until the turtle becomes an adult, the most obvious difference being the adult males have thicker tails and shorter plastrons (lower shells) than the females.
The loggerhead sea turtle is found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. It spends most of its life in saltwater and estuarine habitats, with females briefly coming ashore to lay eggs. The loggerhead sea turtle has a low reproductive rate; females lay an average of four egg clutches and then become quiescent, producing no eggs for two to three years. The loggerhead reaches sexual maturity within 17–33 years and has a lifespan of 47–67 years.
The loggerhead sea turtle is omnivorous, feeding mainly on bottom-dwelling invertebrates. Its large and powerful jaws serve as an effective tool for dismantling its prey. Young loggerheads are exploited by numerous predators; the eggs are especially vulnerable to terrestrial organisms. Once the turtles reach adulthood, their formidable size limits predation to large marine animals, such as sharks.
The loggerhead sea turtle is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In total, 9 distinct population segments are under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, with 4 population segments classified as “threatened” and 5 classified as “endangered” Commercial trade of loggerheads or derived products is prohibited by CITES Appendix I. Untended fishing gear is responsible for many loggerhead deaths. The greatest threat is loss of nesting habitat due to coastal development, predation of nests, and human disturbances (such as coastal lighting and housing developments) that cause disorientations during the emergence of hatchlings. Turtles may also suffocate if they are trapped in fishing trawls. Turtle excluder devices have been implemented in efforts to reduce mortality by providing an escape route for the turtles. Loss of suitable nesting beaches and the introduction of exotic predators have also taken a toll on loggerhead populations. Efforts to restore their numbers will require international cooperation, since the turtles roam vast areas of ocean and critical nesting beaches are scattered across several countries.
The killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. It is recognizable by its black body with a white underside and patches near each eye. Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and other species of dolphin. They have been known to attack baleen whale calves, and even adult whales. Killer whales are apex predators, as no animal preys on them.
A cosmopolitan species, killer whales can be found in all of the world’s oceans in a variety of marine environments, from Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas, absent only from the Baltic and Black seas, and some areas of the Arctic Ocean. They are highly social; some populations are composed of very stable matrilineal family groups (pods) which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of animal culture.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature assesses the orca’s conservation status as data deficient because of the likelihood that two or more killer whale types are separate species. Some local populations are considered threatened or endangered due to prey depletion, habitat loss, pollution (by PCBs), capture for marine mammal parks, and conflicts with human fisheries. In late 2005, the southern resident killer whales, which swim in British Columbia and Washington state waters, were placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list.
Wild killer whales are not considered a threat to humans and no fatal attack on humans has ever been documented, but there have been cases of captive orcas killing or injuring their handlers at marine theme parks. Killer whales feature strongly in the mythologies of indigenous cultures, and their reputation in different cultures ranges from being the souls of humans to merciless killers.
Bottlenose dolphins are in the genus Tursiops. They are the most common members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Molecular studies show the genus contains three species: the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus), and the Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis). Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide, being found everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle regions. Their name derives from the Latin tursio (dolphin) and truncatus for their characteristic truncated teeth.
Numerous investigations of bottlenose dolphin intelligence have been conducted, examining mimicry, use of artificial language, object categorization, and self-recognition. They can use tools (sponging; using marine sponges to forage for food sources they normally could not access) and transmit cultural knowledge from generation to generation, and their considerable intelligence has driven interaction with humans. Bottlenose dolphins gained popularity from aquarium shows and television programs such as Flipper. They have also been trained by militaries to locate sea mines or detect and mark enemy divers. In some areas, they cooperate with local fishermen by driving fish into their nets and eating the fish that escape. Some encounters with humans are harmful to the dolphins: people hunt them for food, and dolphins are killed inadvertently as a bycatch of tuna fishing and by getting caught in crab traps.
Bottlenose dolphins have the third largest encephalization levels of any mammal on Earth (humans have the largest), sharing close ratios with those of humans and other great apes, which more than likely contributes to their high intelligence and emotional intelligence.
The Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) is a medium-sized shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. Puffinus is a New Latin loanword based on the English “puffin” and its variants, that referred to the cured carcass of the fat nestling of the Manx shearwater, a former delicacy. The specific mauretanicus refers to Mauretania, an old name for an area of North Africa roughly corresponding to Morocco and Algeria.
The Balearic shearwater was long regarded a subspecies of the Manx shearwater. Following an initial split, it was held to be a subspecies of the “Mediterranean shearwater” for nearly ten more years, until it was resolved to be a distinct species, separate from the yelkouan shearwater. It is the last taxon of the Puffinus complex that was recognized as a separate entity.
It appears to belong to a group of Mediterranean and adjacent Atlantic species which includes the yelkouan shearwater and one to three prehistorically extinct taxa, Hole’s and possibly also Olson’s shearwater and an undescribed form of unclear distinctness from Menorca. Hole’s shearwater may be the closest known relative of P. mauretanicus. The two living Mediterranean lineages had probably separated before the end of the Pliocene (c. 2 mya), as indicated by molecular differences and the Ibizan fossil Puffinus nestori from the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene, which may have been the direct ancestor of the present species.
This bird is approximately 33 cm (13 in) long, with an 85–90 cm (33–35 in) wingspan. It has the typically “shearing” flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wingbeats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from dark brown to dirty white as the dark upperparts and paler undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea.
Apart from its less contrasting plumage, this species is very similar to the Manx and yelkouan shearwaters found elsewhere in the Mediterranean. At least one mixed breeding colony of Balearic and yelkouan shearwaters exists on Menorca, and the species’ winter ranges overlap in the Central Mediterranean; for scientific purposes at least, a combination of morphological characteristics and DNA sequence data is suggested to identify the species.
The grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae, which are commonly referred to as “true seals” or “earless seals”. It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus. Its name is spelled gray seal in the US; it is also known as Atlantic seal and the horsehead seal.
This is a fairly large seal, with bulls in the eastern Atlantic populations reaching 1.95–2.3 m (6 ft 5 in–7 ft 7 in) long and weighing 170–310 kg (370–680 lb); the cows are much smaller, typically 1.6–1.95 m (5 ft 3 in–6 ft 5 in) long and 100–190 kg (220–420 lb) in weight. Individuals from the western Atlantic are often much larger, with males averaging up to 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in) and reaching a weight of as much as 400 kg (880 lb) and females averaging up to 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) and sometimes weighing up to 250 kg (550 lb). Record-sized bull grey seals can reach about 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in) in length.
A common average weight in Great Britain was found to be about 233 kg (514 lb) for males and 154.6 kg (341 lb) for females whereas in Nova Scotia, Canada adult males averaged 294.6 kg (649 lb) and adult females averaged 224.5 kg (495 lb).
It is distinguished from the smaller harbor seal by its straight head profile, nostrils set well apart, and fewer spots on its body. Wintering hooded seals can be confused with grey seals as they are about the same size and somewhat share a large-nosed look but the hooded has a paler base colour and usually evidences a stronger spotting. Grey seals lack external ear flaps and characteristically have large snouts. Bull greys have larger noses and a less curved profile than harbor seal bulls. Males are generally darker than females, with lighter patches and often scarring around the neck. Females are silver grey to brown with dark patches.