The United States Postal Service (USPS) is set to release a new pane of stamps featuring 20 photos of endangered animals to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The first-day-of-issue event for the Endangered Species Forever stamps is free and open to the public, and will take place on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 11 a.m. MT at the National Grasslands Visitor Center in Wall, SD.
The stamps showcase photographs of endangered animals found within the 50 states and U.S. territories, as well as two North American species living near U.S. borders. The 20 images are from National Geographic Explorer and photographer Joel Sartore’s “National Geographic Photo Ark” project, which aims to document every species living in the world’s zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help protect wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.
“We are honored to play a small role in recognizing the critical work being done under the Endangered Species Act to protect and recover threatened and endangered species, and to promote biodiversity across our nation and around the globe,” said Peter Pastre, vice president of government relations and public policy at USPS.
Martha Williams, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, added, “These beautiful stamps showcase the incredible biodiversity of our country and highlight the importance of conserving and protecting the natural world we all share.”
The ESA provides a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats both domestically and abroad. President Richard Nixon signed the ESA into law on Dec. 27, 1973, following a unanimous Senate vote. In the 50 years since, other nations worldwide have emulated the pioneering U.S. initiative. Under the ESA, more than 1,670 U.S. species and 698 foreign species are safeguarded to increase their chances of survival. Scientists estimate that hundreds of species have been rescued from the brink of extinction in the United States since the ESA began.
“A species found to need protection is listed under the ESA as either threatened or endangered, the latter defined as ‘in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,’” the USPS said in a statement.
The dedication ceremony for the stamps is being shared with the hashtags #EndangeredSpeciesStamps and #ESA50. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at usps.com/endangeredspecies.