Credit: U.S. Postal Service

Hohenwald, TN — Today, the U.S. Postal Service celebrated the majestic, playful, and highly intelligent elephant with a first-day-of-issue stamp ceremony at The Elephant Discovery Center.

“We love elephants because of their physical characteristics, social intelligence, capacity for empathy, self-awareness, teamwork, and because they share so many of our own best qualities,” said Jeffery Adams, USPS corporate communications vice president, who served as the dedicating official. “What a pleasure it is to honor these magnificent creatures on World Elephant Day with a beautiful Forever stamp.”

Joining Adams for the ceremony were master of ceremonies Vicki Yates, Channel 5 Nashville News anchor; Todd Montgomery, senior manager of external relations of The Elephant Sanctuary, the organization that oversees The Elephant Discovery Center; Dan Ashe, president, and chief executive officer of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; Richard Rhonda, board chair of The Elephant Sanctuary; Breanne Black, coordinator of community outreach and engagement for Working Dogs for Conservation; and Crystal Nash, director of the Lewis County Public Library and Archives.

“The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has provided refuge and lifetime care for captive elephants for 27 years. The release of the Elephants Forever stamp offers an exciting opportunity to highlight the importance of elephants as a keystone species and to help spread awareness of the challenges they face in captivity and the wild,” said Janice Zeitlin, chief executive officer of The Elephant Sanctuary. “We are thrilled to be hosting the U.S. Postal Service, and special guest speakers for the dedication ceremony at The Elephant Discover Center in downtown Hohenwald.”

The stamp’s fanciful, digital illustration of an elephant and its young calf depicts the affectionate nature of the beloved animals. Two stylized plants and a bright orange sun add whimsy and color to this lighthearted stamp. In the upper left-hand corner, the word “Forever” is in black, and the letters “USA” are in gray. The booklet cover includes a detail of the adult elephant, with a green plant and orange sun to the left. The title “Elephants” is in a black serif font. Artis Rafael López created the original art and designed the stamp. Derry Noyes was the art director.

The Elephants stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp in booklets of 20. News of the Elephants stamps is being shared with the hashtag #ElephantsStamps.

Background on Elephants in America

Americans have been intrigued by elephants since the first one arrived on our shores in 1796.

What is it about elephants that make people love them? The flapping ears and the mouth seemingly curved into a smile are charming, of course, but it is more than that. We seem to see ourselves in them: Their social complexity and expansive emotional range reflect those of humans. They practice teamwork, demonstrate the capacity for empathy and grief, and establish lifelong bonds of family. Herds are organized into complex matriarchal societies; calves are raised and mentored by the entire herd.

America’s feelings toward elephants have evolved since the 18th-century introduction. The relationship was hard on elephants. While Americans loved the floppy-eared giants, they were not always conscientious in providing care and nurturing for the emotional and sensitive creatures. However, changing attitudes in the United States have increased the awareness of conditions for captive elephants, enabled legislation to ban ivory importation, and encouraged conservation efforts for elephants in the wild. 

These cute, fun stamps celebrate the affection and ever-evolving connection between humans and elephants.

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