Monday, February 2, 2009

Tortoises and Turtles Stamps

Besides collecting the first issues, i also collect topical stamps of tortoises and turtles. Don't ask me why... cause I just don't know :) ... but i think these shelled friends are one of the cutest animals on this planet. And today i would like to share with you a couples of stamp on this topic.The first is a souvenir sheet picturing the Radiated Tortoises. This was issued by Togolese Republic in 1996. The Radiated Tortoise can be found only in the extreme southern and southwestern part of the island of Madagascar. Growing to a carapace length of up to 16 inches (41 cm) and weighing up to 35 pounds (16kg), the radiated tortoise is considered to be one of the world's most beautiful tortoises. These tortoises are, however, highly endangered, mainly because of the destruction of their habitat by humans and being over exploited in the pet trade. It is listed in Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits the import or export of the species under most conditions. However, due to the poor economic conditions of Madagascar, many of the laws are largely ignored.
The second souvenir sheet shows the mata mata turtles. The mata mata is a freshwater turtle found in South America, primarily in the Amazon and Orinoco basins. The appearance of the mata mata's shell resembles a piece of bark, and its head resembles fallen leaves. As it remains motionless in the water, its skin flaps enable it to blend into the surrounding vegetation until a fish comes close. The mata mata thrusts out its head and opens its large mouth as wide as possible, creating a low-pressure vacuum that sucks the prey into its mouth. The turtle snaps its mouth shut and the water is slowly expelled swallowing the fish whole. This beautiful sheet was issued by Cambodia in 1998.


The last one that i am going to show you today is a set of stamps picturing the Pancake Tortoises. These stamps were issued by the tortoises' native homeland, Tanzania in 1993. Its name is derived from the shape of its shell, which is shaped like a pancake. Unlike most tortoises, its shell is flat, flexible, and provides the tortoise very little defense against predators. For protection, the Pancake Tortoise hides in small crevices, which it can easily do due to the flat shape of its shell.
Here is a photograph showing the Pancake Tortoise in it's natural habitat. Isn't it cute?



Today over 40 species of turtles including most sea turtles and many types of tortoises are endangered, and if turtle conservation and protection does not improve, certain species will become extinct. Let's save them before it is too late. Please do not buy any turtles and tortoises products and stop eating them!
Turtles in crisis: The Asian food market >>
click here to read

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