The hidden date for this stamp can be found in the bottom-left corner.
According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), more than 500 plant and animal species are currently at risk in Canada. Another 13 species are already extinct. Species considered to be at risk are listed in five categories: Special Concern, if a species is deemed to be in danger of becoming "threatened" or "endangered"; Threatened, if a species is thought likely to become "endangered" if nothing is done to reverse detrimental factors; Endangered, if a species faces imminent extirpation or extinction; Extirpated, if a species is extinct in a specific location or country, but living in the wild elsewhere; and Extinct, if a species no longer exists anywhere in the world.
To mark Stamp Collecting Month 2006 and raise awareness about endangered species, Canada Post will issue the first in a series of three sets of stamps that depict at risk wildlife native to Canada. The initial set of four domestic rate (51¢) stamps features four endangered Canadian animals that live on land. A second set of stamps, which will be issued in 2007, will feature endangered water creatures. Stamps depicting at-risk species that live in the air will follow in 2008.
Designed by David Sacha and Karen Satok of Sputnik Design Partners in Toronto, the initial quartet of endangered species stamps features the blotched tiger salamander, blue racer, Newfoundland marten and swift fox. A detail-oriented illustration of each animal is set against a fading background, symbolizing the disappearance of their habitats and the destruction of their homes. A special feature of this issue is the souvenir sheet, which is unusual because the tabs are also stickers.
"Destruction of habitat is a major reason why many animals become endangered in the first place," says David Sacha. "And this was the main concept behind the design we chose for these stamps. Doug Martin, the illustrator, really managed to bring life to the design by placing each animal in the foreground---at the centre of importance---and communicating their innate beauty, especially through their eyes. The stickers show only the outline of each animal to symbolize how easily they might become extinct if we don't act to protect them and their habitats."
The Official First Day Cover is affixed with all four stamps and has a striking illustration of the swift fox in negative. The background of the booklet also depicts faded images of all four animals, emphasizing the current need to protect these creatures and their habitats.
"Across the country, people are working to protect species at risk and their habitats, and to help them recover," says Danielle Trottier, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. "These stamps---and the others in the series to be issued in 2007 and 2008---recognize their efforts and will hopefully raise awareness that we can all do something to help endangered animals."