StampNews.com is glad to introduce to our readers’ attention four new Slovenian stamps from the Fauna series, which this time are dedicated to Dolphins and Whales. They are printed using UV printing technology, which allows us to include an additional image visible in ultraviolet light (4-colour offset in sheets of 25 stamps + UV print). Let’s appreciate these innovative philatelic items together!
Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) stamp
The fin whale is the world’s second-largest whale species and is found in deep and open seas. A permanent population of this species that is genetically different from other known populations is present in the Mediterranean. It is found above all in the western and central Mediterranean. The species is marked as “endangered” on the IUCN list. The fin whale is not constantly present in the Adriatic but may occasionally be observed here. The most recent sighting in Slovenian waters dates back to 2011. In spring 2003 the body of a young female fin whale was washed ashore in the Bay of Piran. The skeleton was given to the Natural History Museum of Slovenia, where experts turned the more than ten tons of decomposing whale flesh into the marvellous white skeleton that now hangs from the ceiling of the exhibition hall.
Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) stamp
The common bottlenose dolphin is probably the most researched cetacean (dolphins, like whales, are members of the infraorder Cetacea). The Mediterranean population is marked as “vulnerable” on the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Although the species is common in many areas, most populations are relatively small and can be locally endangered. The species is well known from the television series Flipper. It can be recognised by its characteristic grey body, which becomes light grey at the sides, and white belly. These dolphins, part of a small but constant population, can be encountered in Slovenian waters all year round. The waters off Slovenia’s coast are an important part of their habitat, since this is where they feed, play, reproduce and care for their young. Some dolphins use the area more frequently than others.
Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) stamp
The striped dolphin is found in the southern Adriatic and is the numerically largest cetacean species in the Mediterranean. It can only occasionally be observed in the northern Adriatic and the Gulf of Trieste. This species was first spotted in Slovenian waters in 2012, when two striped dolphins came to visit us and remained in the area for several days. They were observed in the port of Koper, by the main jetty in Portorož and in the sea off the altworks in Sečovlje. The species can be identified by the characteristic stripe running along the side of the body from the eye. The back is dark and the belly is white. The striped dolphin is an oceanic or pelagic species that lives in the open sea in relatively large groups.
Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) stamp
The northern Adriatic and the Gulf of Trieste were once home to large numbers of short-beaked common dolphins, as well as common bottlenose dolphins. Sadly, in the last three decades they have entirely disappeared from the Adriatic and are now considered a regionally extinct species. Even in the Mediterranean as a whole, their number has declined dramatically. The Mediterranean population is marked as “endangered” on the IUCN list. This dolphin may be recognised by the characteristic sandy yellow patch on its side, which narrows below the dorsal fin into a light grey patch extending to the tail.
This transition of light colours on the dolphin’s side creates a distinctive “hourglass” pattern. Individual examples of this species appeared in the Gulf of Trieste in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The short-beaked common dolphin has been spotted near Izola, off Debeli Rtič/Punta Grossa and in the Bay of Piran. One extremely interesting case was that of a female short-beaked common dolphin that remained in the Gulf of Trieste for more than a year. Researchers from the marine mammal research organisation Morigenos established, on the basis of photo identification, that she had swum here from Greece. This is to date the longest documented journey by a member of this species anywhere in the world.