A quarter of a century after being driven out of Switzerland, the European fish otter has made its comeback – only for the post office to mistake it for an Asian cousin on a set of stamps showing off Swiss wildlife.
StampNews.com has already written about the “baby animals” stamp issue by Swiss Post that was launched in March, featuring the otter, lynx, bear and wolf. All these animals have recently made reappearance in Switzerland having previously been hunted and persecuted out of the country.
Otters were driven to extinction in Switzerland by 1989 despite being given protected status in 1952. Once seen as pests that competed with humans for fish, the otters have been welcomed back with open arms.
This made it the perfect subject of the special edition stamp set, which also boasts interactive features by downloading a post office app. But Swiss otter association Pro Lutraexternal link has spotted a mistake: the creature on the stamp is the Asian dwarf otter not the European fish variety.
“Fish otters have clearly visible webbing and claws as young animals. These are missing from the animal on the stamp,” Pro Lutra spokeswoman Irene Weinberger told 20 Minuten newspaper.
The post office has apologised for the error but insists the Asian dwarf otter will remain on the stamp set for the duration of its limited edition run, due to expire in March 2018.
“This stamp, just like all the baby animal series, is much loved. We haven’t had any negative feedback from customers,” post office spokeswoman Jacqueline Bühlmann told.
It is worth mentioning that such mistakes make philatelic items more valuable and increase their price. So called “Error Stamps” are greatly prized by collectors and may cost thousands of dollars.