On September 20, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service launched the Save Vanishing Species Stamp, with a beautiful drawing of an Amur tiger cub, by artist Nancy Stahl.
The image of the Amur tiger cub is perhaps an example that best illustrates the problem and solutions that we have at hand: 60 years ago, the total number of the Amur tigers, the world’s largest known cat, was down to about 50. Some of the causes for this are Illegal logging and fires that destroy tiger habitat (deforestation) and illegal poaching for use in traditional medicine, and illegal trade. Conservation efforts have stemmed this decline. Today the estimated population in the wild is 400 Amur tigers.
The Save Vanishing Species stamp was created to raise public awareness and garner support for critically important global conservation efforts. Proceeds from this stamp will directly benefit the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders - Multinational Species Conservation Funds, which have funded more than 1,800 grants for tigers, elephants, great apes, rhinos, gorillas, chimpanzees, and sea turtles.
The stamp sells for 55 cents each (only 10 cents more than an individual First-Class stamp), and $11 per sheet of 20 stamps. The proceeds from the stamp are used to save endangered animals in the wild. Ten million stamps were printed initially and it will be reprinted based on demand. In just about a year, 16.5 million stamps have been purchased. It has raised a total of $1.7 million for the five Multinational Species Conservation Funds.
This stamp is also a celebration of a diverse and fantastic coalition of conservation organizations, private sector, and bipartisan support from members of congress. Much effort and hard work was put into the creation of this monumental stamp. This initiative would not have been possible without the 31 member organizations of the Multinational Species Coalition, a group representing over 231 million people who are truly dedicated to the vital importance of wildlife conservation. Busch Gardens and SeaWorld has declared this their official stamp. Retired Congressman Henry Brown of South Carolina and the Staff Director for Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Subcommittee of the House Natural Resource Committee, Harry Burroughs have been champions in Congress.
The nation’s third largest advertising company, BBDO has been a key pro bono partner in planning the communications strategy and creative. Also, the 2011 class of A Semester in Washington, a program at George Washington University, developed a public relations strategy and produced public service announcements (you see below) to promote this cause.
This stamp is a wonderful way for all of America to voluntarily show their support for wildlife conservation. This isn’t a tax. We believe the public will respond and show their support and buy this stamp. It is available in U.S. post offices and at USPS.com. Please help us stamp out extinction.