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BotswanaPost releases flamingo stamps

BotswanaPost, a parastatal responsible for postal service in Botswana, on March 15 launched new stamps from a series of the endangered birds of Botswana, the Flamingos.

The stamps are in four denominations and the first P5 denomination depicts both the Greater and Lesser Flamingo, the second P7 denomination illustrates Flamingos filter feeding, which is a common sight at the Makgadikgadi pan.

These special birds take in water and food through their beaks and then expel the excess water.

The third denomination of P9 illustrate both the Greater and Lesser Flamingos, this time showing a full view of the birds ‘flaunting’ their daily routine while the last P10 denomination shows ‘crop milk feeding’, which is the Flamingos unique way of feeding their chicks.

Officially launching the stamp, the chairperson of BotswanaPost Stamp Advisory Committee and chief executive officer of Bird Life Botswana, Dr Kabelo Senyatso explained that there were two flamingo species found in Botswana - the Lesser flamingo and the Greater flamingo - both of which are facing serious threats of extinction.

He therefore said the art work of the flamingo stamp was important to sensitise the nation and the world at large on the threats facing these two birds, adding that the first threat, and perhaps the most important, was that these species were very sensitive during the breeding season and any distraction during this time could cause a lot of damage.

Dr Senyatso said Flamingos nest in a few places within the southern Africa, and at only one site within the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, adding that when picking where and when to lay their eggs, the birds would have calculated the water movement so as to avoid flooding into the breeding sites.

“Therefore, if flooding occurs during this period the birds are forced to flee the sites leaving all the eggs to be wiped away by water,” he added

He further explained that the other key threat during the breeding season is due to disturbance caused by people who want to see the birds breeding.

“Again, because of their sensitivity during this period they tend to flee the breeding sites, leaving eggs behind, which will never be hatched, and therefore result in a great loss,” he said.

Lastly, he said because Flamingos often fly at night, they are threatened by collision with power lines, next to the wetlands which then kill them.

Dr Senyatso said the launch of the stamps was also meant to preserve the beauty of the Makgadikgadi Pans, where they are mostly found in Botswana.

“The role of a Stamp has drastically evolved from being a receipt for service that is issued by postal services to a messenger, to now being an advocate for celebrating historic events, narrating the untold stories and creating awareness on issues of national and global importance,” he explained.

For his part, BotswanaPost chief executive officer, Mr Cornelius Ramatlhakwane explained that stamps played a major role as ambassadors of any given country because they tell a story or history of that particular country.

He also said stamps also tell a story about the global trends of various elements, in this case, the increase in the extinction of Flamingo birds not only in Botswana, but globally.

“In our case, the Flamingo stamps will send a massive message to the United Nations (UN) about the extinction of these beautiful birds,” he added.

Mr Ramatlhakwane further explained that stamps have played a pivotal role as a true revenue generation entity for the BotswanaPost as shown by the performance of stamps in the past organisation financial statements.

The wife of the President of the Court of Appeal, Gwithie Kirby is the woman behind the drawing and painting of these endangered birds of Botswana while artist and designer, Leungo Tumedi graphically finished it off.

The event was also graced by Kirby and former First Lady, Mrs Barbra Mogae and daughter Chedza, among other dignitaries.ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Thamani Shabani

Location : GABORONE

Event : launch of new stamps

Date : Mar 19 Mon,2018

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