16 January 2011

New wildlife stamps from Norway..




Musk ox

Date of Issue – 3 January 2011

Norwegian Post issued a set of two stamps on 3rd January 2011, showing wildlife in Norway. The two stamps feature Musk Ox and Polar Bear.

Musk Ox

The Musk ox (Ovibos moschatus) is related to both sheep and cattle. Its muzzle, hooves and short tail resemble those of a sheep, while its size and the four teats of the female are comparable to a cow. 

The muskox’s horns are also formed in the same way as those of cattle and sheep and are not shed like the antlers of a deer. Compact and round in shape, the musk ox mostly resembles a prehistoric animal. Its large head with its characteristic horns is low and appears to be attached directly to its body. It has a long, shaggy coat beneath which its legs are barely visible.

It takes its name from the strong musky odour of the male, which he emits from two facial glands by rubbing his head against his forelegs or against tussocks or stones. The muskox has its origins in Canada, Alaska and Greenland. It was imported from Greenland to Dovrefjell in Norway in 1932. The Norwegian population has since been supplemented and now numbers around 200.


Polar Bear

Polar Bear

An encounter with a Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in its own environment is the dream of everyone who visits the Arctic. The polar bear is the very symbol of the northern polar areas, just as penguins are the signature species of Antarctica. The polar bear is reckoned to be the largest land predator in the world, rivaled only by the Alaskan Kodiak bear. The record-holding polar bear was shot in Alaska in 1960 and weighed 1003 kg, but they rarely reach this size. A full-grown polar bear on Svalbard weighs about 500 kg and usually has a maximum life span of 25 years. The oldest polar bear recorded on Svalbard was a female aged 32. The population there is now estimated at about 1500.

Hunting of polar bears has been prohibited on Svalbard since 1973. Climate changes are starting to create serious problems for the polar bear and researchers are concerned about the recent developments in the Arctic. The absence of summer ice in the polar basin may become a reality in the course of this century. At the same time the winter period when new ice is formed may become shorter. This will restrict both living areas and the possibility of hunting seal. Seal represents more than 90 per cent of the polar bear’s diet.


Source : Official Philatelic Portal of the Nordic Countries

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