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Tortoises and Horses stamps from French Polynesia

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The Post of French Polynesia has issued two colorful stamps dedicated to the tortoises of the Papeari Botanical Garden and the horses from the Marquesas.

The two tortoises of the Botanical Garden in Papeari are among the biggest living tortoises. Each weighs around 200 kg, is 1.50 m long and moves at 3 km/h. They are herbivorous animals that feed on leaves, grass and fruits. They have a very good sense of smell. The tortoises were offered in 1928 to Charles Nordhoff by the Governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Pinchot. For almost 90 years now, these peaceful animals have quietly got old in their enclosure, making the joy of visitors, big and small alike.

The Spanish, who were in transit through French Polynesia in the 16th century, left some horses in the vast swathes of land of the archipelago. Those horses then mixed with horses bought in Chile in 1840 by Dupetit-Thouars, thus almost forming a race of small nervous horses, which are well suited for the terrain of these marvelous islands. They were first used as drought power and ploughing animals. Today they live freely on almost every island of the archipelago. After being captured, they take part in events, especially in bareback horse races. They are now an integral part of the Polynesian heritage.

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