This year, our Baby Wildlife series wraps up with one last adorable issue. Each stamp captures the early days of some of Canada’s more recognizable wildlife: the baby beaver, mountain goat, puffin, wapiti and burrowing owl. With four years of newborn critter stamps to her credit, as well as other Canadian stamps since 1998, designer Sophie Lafortune strives to ensure these youngsters look their best.
“The focus on the animals has kept the series fresh by giving new life to the stamps with each issue. New animals with different habitats meant new design challenges,” explains Lafortune, adding, “There’s a need to find new ways of seeing the animals each year.”
Finding new images isn’t the only challenge. As definitives, these will be among the most used stamps this year. “Similar to the design of a poster, everything on a stamp has to be easily identifiable at first sight,” says Lafortune. “To achieve that visibility, we play with contrasts and colours to highlight the key element of each stamp.”
Lafortune’s favourite from the 2014 series is the puffin and its mother. She points to the contrast between the almost monochromatic baby bird and the bright colour in the mother’s beak.
About the animals
At birth, adorable baby beavers already have thick fur, sharp teeth and open eyes. They can see, hear, walk and even swim. After two years, kits leave the colony.
Mountain goat mothers bear their kids on the isolated ledges of the dangerous rocky terrain they call home. Just three days after birth, horns start to show and soon after, the kid is ready to explore and play with other youngsters.
Puffin males prepare burrows on ocean cliffs with grass, twig and feather linings. After 40 days, the 40-gram chick hatches and some five weeks later, takes its first flight at night.
Burrowing owl parents assure the comfort of their chicks by lining the burrow in feathers, dried plants and dry shredded cow manure. By August, the chicks begin living independently as they prepare for the annual migration to the south.
Wapiti – sometimes known as elk in North America – are born in May or early June after a gestation period of just over eight months. After birth, the cow hides her newborn until it can run if threatened.