|Date of Issue||May 23, 2019|
|Perforation or Dimension||34.74 mm x 32.79 mm|
|Series Time Span||2019|
Canadian populations of the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) are now found only in isolated pockets around central and southern Ontario. Once much more common, the province’s smallest turtle, which carries a shell that’s less than 13 centimetres long, is a victim of habitat loss and collection for the illegal pet trade. The tiny, hardy reptile survives the long, cold winters by hibernating, singly or communally, in the mud at the bottom of ice-covered wetlands or in underwater burrows.
With spring in full swing – and camping, canoeing and cottage life just around the corner – you might soon encounter one of Canada’s eight freshwater turtle species. These stamps showcase two species that have been assessed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
Creatively presented by designer Adrian Horvath and illustrator Sarah Still, the images on these stamps blend beauty and accuracy – qualities that Still argues go hand in hand. “I’ve always enjoyed realism and highly detailed work. I believe nature already provides us with beautiful subjects. It’s my pleasure to help others see them as I do,” she says.
“I wanted these turtles to pop off the stamp,” says Horvath. The real challenge, he added, was finding a way to break the subjects out of the stamp frame in a way that worked in every application – as 10 stamps in a booklet, as a single stamp on a letter, and as a bound (se-tenant) duo on the Official First Day Cover and souvenir sheet.
According to COSEWIC, habitat loss, road mortality and illegal collection are among the biggest threats to the two species featured on these stamps. Since turtles are exceptionally long-living creatures that breed as slowly as they move, the loss of even a single adult is devastating.
“I want people to be in awe of these beautiful creatures – and to enjoy the playfulness of the stamps,” says Horvath. “I hope this stamp issue inspires people to find out what they can to help these species flourish and to preserve their habitat.”