A couple of Wales' most precious animals feature in a new series of Royal Mail stamps celebrating successfully reintroduced species
The sand lizard and the osprey feature in a new range of wildlife stamps released by Royal Mail in recognition of the great efforts of conservationists in reversing the extinction of previously cherished flora and fauna.
Sand lizards are a particularly rare and protected species in Britain and can only be found in a few isolated areas with sandy heathlands. They became extinct in Wales during the 1960s due to development and sea-defence work. But its reintroduction has resulted in a breeding population establishing itself on several coastal dunes.
The osprey, meanwhile, is a much celebrated story on the west coast of Wales, where a reintroduction programme that began in 2009 has seen repeated successful breeding seasons since 2011
The artwork for the stamps has been created by award-winning artist Tanya Achilleos Lock, who was BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year in 2012 and 2013 in three categories.
“It’s remarkable to think that scientists and conservationists have been able to reintroduce extinct species into areas of the UK,” says Tanya.
Favouring sandy heathland habitats and sand dunes, sand lizards can be spotted basking on bare patches of sand. They also lay their eggs in the sand. Wales’ rarest reptile, it was once common along the North Wales coast.
As for ospreys, few records exist of this sea eagle prior to the turn of the millennium. However there are many references to them over the centuries, and the coat of arms of the city of Swansea, granted in 1316, features an osprey, suggesting they once bred in the area, while the coat of arms of West Glamorgan also bears an image of the bird.
For more information on the collection of stamps, visit www.royalmail.com/reintroducedspeciesstamps
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