ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Gracious – look at the cost of postage 42 years ago – one could trust the post office to deliver in those days too! Because postage stamps were still widely used, they were an excellent medium through which to convey important messages, to encourage celebration, and generally to draw attention to various aspects of our society. In this case, Environmental Conservation was celebrated with stamps to coincide with World Environment Day in 1976.

Our recent visit to the Mountain Zebra National Park reminded me of this First Day cover for it features the Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra) along with a Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatis), the Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and the Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus), all of which were regarded as endangered species at the time.

The stamps were designed and painted by the renowned South African Artist, Paul Bosman, who has been quoted as saying “I see art and wildlife conservation as a symbiotic relationship. Because art keeps alive the memories of wildlife in a natural setting, it stimulates a longing in the public to know that such scenes will continue to exist in nature.” This adds a dimension to the symbolic influence of such stamps, which would have been seen by many people from all walks of life.

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