StampNews.com is glad to inform that South Africa Post issued a set of stamps featuring six endangered South African species to raise awareness of illegal animal trade.
Mlu Mathonsi, acting Group CEO of the Post Office, said a total of 50 000 stamp sheets will draw attention to the plight of the oribi, black rhino, grey crowned crane, ground hornbill, sungazer and Cape parrot.
The six were selected by the Endangered Wildlife Trust, an organisation founded in 1973 with the purpose of protecting South Africa's threatened wildlife species. The artwork on the stamps is by Alan Ainslie, a wildlife artist who has exhibited with world-renowned artists such as Raymond Harris-Ching (New Zealand), Keith Joubert (South Africa) and Paul Bosman (US).
"But the Post Office is doing more than raise awareness. The Endangered Wildlife Trust has trained staff at South Africa's international mail centres so X-ray machine operators know how to identify animals and animal parts in parcels to foreign countries", Mathonsi said.
Animal poaching is an increasing global phenomenon. In Southern Africa, poaching has increased at an alarming rate. The situation has become so bad that local newspapers have labelled our national wildlife parks "killing fields". Estimated to be the third largest illegal industry worldwide after drugs and human trafficking, poaching often has its roots in organised, trans-boundary crime and is among the most serious threats to the survival of plant and animal populations.
Poaching has a detrimental effect on biodiversity both within and outside protected areas. As wildlife populations decline, species are depleted locally, and the functionality of ecosystems is disturbed.
According to SA National Parks CEO, Mavuso Msimang, poachers are stealing millions of South African rand in animal, plant and marine life from our "national treasury" of reserves. "These unscrupulous people are attacking the economic fabric of our national tourism industry", he says. Most of the poaching inside the Kruger National Park is under control, but "highly organised syndicates" are operating just outside its border with Limpopo.
It is believed that sophisticated rhino and other wildlife theft networks are in operation, using helicopters and trucks to "strip South Africa of its wildlife". Wildlife organisations in the country are therefore forced to continually increase security measures to protect our conservation areas and their wildlife.