WALL, SD — The United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled the new Endangered Species Forever stamps today, marking the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These stamps showcase the captivating photographs of endangered animals found within the 50 states, American territories, and two North American species near U.S. borders.

Under the ESA, over 1,670 U.S. and nearly 700 foreign species are protected to enhance their chances of survival. The release of these stamps not only commemorates the law but also recognizes the dedicated individuals, organizations, and agencies that have tirelessly worked to safeguard and preserve these species.

During the dedication ceremony, Peter Pastre, the Postal Service’s government relations and public policy vice president, expressed, “There’s a story behind every stamp, just as there is a story behind every one of these animals. We hope the Endangered Species stamps tell the story of hard work, humanity, and hope, while raising awareness about endangered animals and wildlife, and the efforts to protect them.”

The photographs featured on the stamps were captured by Joel Sartore, a National Geographic Explorer and photographer, as part of his National Geographic Photo Ark project. This initiative aims to document every species living in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife sanctuaries worldwide. Sartore’s work also promotes education and supports on-the-ground conservation efforts to protect wildlife.

“These stamps highlight just some of the many species that have benefited from the ESA and are emblematic of the diversity of wildlife we enjoy,” stated Martha Williams, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The ESA is one of the world’s most important conservation laws, and it plays an integral role in preventing extinctions, promoting recovery of wildlife, and preserving their habitats.”

Since the enactment of the ESA in 1973, numerous species in the United States have been rescued from the brink of extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spearheads the process of identifying species in need of protection, listing them as either threatened or endangered. The latter classification denotes species “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

Joel Sartore reflected on the significance of the ESA and the stamps, saying, “For those of us who care deeply, the loss of even one of these species would be devastating. Besides being living works of art, we believe each has a basic right to exist. And if that’s not enough, perhaps this will get your attention: what happens to them will happen to us as well.”

President Richard Nixon signed the ESA into law on December 27, 1973, following unanimous support from the Senate. Over the past five decades, this pioneering American legislation has served as a model for other nations worldwide. The ESA provides a comprehensive framework for conserving and protecting endangered and threatened species, as well as their habitats, both domestically and internationally.

The animals featured on the stamps were predominantly photographed in zoos, highlighting the vital role these facilities play in conservation efforts. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has made a committed effort to lead global species conservation and promote animal well-being through its member facilities.

Becky Dewitz, CEO of the Great Plains Zoo and incoming member of AZA’s Board of Directors, stated, “Zoos and aquariums accredited by AZA have worked tirelessly to save and restore endangered species. We celebrate the ESA by educating millions of visitors on the beauty and importance of the natural world and the animals that call it home. We are so proud to have some of the animals we care for featured in Joel’s stunning photography and commemorated in the postage stamps we unveil today.”

awareness about endangered species and the importance of conservation, from May 19 to June 9, all First-Class Mail bearing postage stamps will be postmarked with an image of a black-footed ferret and the words: “Protect Endangered Species.”

The release of the Endangered Species Forever stamps serves as a powerful reminder of the progress made in protecting endangered species and the ongoing efforts needed to ensure their survival. Scientists estimate that hundreds of species have been saved from the brink of extinction in the United States alone since the implementation of the ESA.

The stamps not only capture the beauty and diversity of these endangered animals but also aim to inspire action. By featuring these stunning photographs on everyday mail, the USPS intends to reach a wide audience and promote awareness about the urgent need to protect our planet’s wildlife and their habitats.

The Endangered Species Forever stamps feature a range of captivating species, including the endangered California condor, the threatened polar bear, and the vulnerable northern spotted owl. Each stamp tells a unique story and highlights the critical role that the ESA and dedicated individuals have played in preserving these species.

The significance of the ESA cannot be overstated. It serves as a crucial tool in preventing extinctions, promoting the recovery of wildlife populations, and preserving their habitats. The success stories resulting from this legislation demonstrate the effectiveness of conservation efforts when supported by strong policies and collaborative initiatives.

Joel Sartore’s photography, showcased on the stamps, not only captures the essence of these animals but also conveys a message of hope. The images serve as a testament to the progress made in conservation and the importance of continued action to protect our planet’s biodiversity.

As the stamps are unveiled and enter circulation, they provide a unique opportunity for individuals across the nation to engage with the issue of endangered species. The USPS hopes that these stamps will encourage conversations about conservation, inspire individuals to learn more about endangered species, and motivate them to take steps to protect the natural world.

The Endangered Species Forever stamps are a tribute to the ESA’s 50-year legacy of protecting and preserving endangered species. They honor the collaborative efforts of scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public who have dedicated themselves to the cause of wildlife conservation.

By commemorating these species on postage stamps, the USPS recognizes the profound impact that the Endangered Species Act has had in saving countless lives and ensuring a brighter future for these remarkable animals. The stamps stand as a reminder of our responsibility to protect and cherish the rich biodiversity that graces our planet.

As individuals send and receive mail adorned with these striking images, they are encouraged to reflect on the importance of preserving our natural heritage and consider the actions they can take to contribute to the ongoing conservation efforts.

Through the collective efforts of governments, organizations, and individuals, there is hope for the survival and recovery of endangered species. The Endangered Species Forever stamps serve as a symbol of that hope and an urgent call to action to protect our world’s most vulnerable inhabitants.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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