Despite the great climatic differences between Israel and Greenland, both countries face similar challenges. Each lies in an area characterized by extreme temperatures and large portions of their land are desert areas. Israel is located on the edge of a dry desert and Greenland lies in a polar desert.
Both of these limit the availability of inhabitable land, making it imperative to maintain a balance between human development and conservation of the local animal kingdom.
Israel is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, at the edge of the Sahara
desert belt. The arid Negev desert in the south encompasses some 60% of Israel’s overall area, thus most Israelis live in the central and northern portions of the country, and mainly along the coastal plain.
The density of Israel’s population and the intensive development of its agriculture have put great pressure on the natural habitats of its wildlife. Many animals have been forced into ever decreasing habitats and some, such as the Dorcas gazelle, have reached the point of being endangered.
The Dorcas gazelle used to be common in the desert areas of Eretz Israel and the surrounding countries, however it was displaced by human activity and severely compromised as the result of unchecked hunting. When the State of Israel was established, laws limiting hunting were put into place. Strict enforcement of these laws in recent years has helped to save the gazelle. The Dorcas gazelle population, which was on the brink of extinction, has begun to recover and now numbers hundreds of animals.
The State of Israel is the last place in the world where the continued existence of the Dorcas gazelle is ensured. Environmental protection entities in Israel invest great efforts in conserving this beautiful animal, with the hope that its population will continue to thrive.
Greenland, the largest island in the world, is located in the Arctic region and its climate is very much affected by its proximity to the North Pole. Most of Greenland is covered by an ice sheet, which is thousands of meters thick in the central portion of the island. During the long winter season, the sea surrounding Greenland freezes and also becomes covered with a thick ice sheet.
The cold water surrounding the island provides plentiful food which sustains an abundant population of marine animals. The large schools of fish attract many marine mammals, such as seals, to Greenland’s shores, which are hunted by the world’s largest land carnivore, the Polar bear.
In recent years, there has been growing concern regarding the future of the Polar bear population. There are various reasons for this, including competition with humans for habitats, hunting and seawater pollution, however the main problem stems from global warming. Glacial melting and reduced marine ice areas greatly curb the Polar bear’s ability to hunt the marine animals it needs to survive.
The stamp sheet features a Dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas) and a Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) against the background of their natural habitats. The stamp sheet will be released on 11th June 2013.