For human beings, Antarctica is a vast, icy and perennially inhospitable land, approached and inhabited by only the hardiest of souls.
But for the Emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), the continent is truly home – even in winter, when it’s the only animal to spend the season breeding on the open ice.
This series of stamps depcited the life cycle of the Emperor penguin. With their black caps, blue-grey necks, bright yellow breasts and orange ear patches and bills, these distinctive birds are the tallest of the 17 species in the penguin family.
Every winter, once the sea ice has formed, they gather at their breeding ground, the mates of the previous year seeking each other out and spending several weeks renewing their acquaintance. Once the eggs are laid (one for each pair), the male becomes the official incubator, balancing the egg on top of his feet and covering it with a warm fold of skin and feathers.
He huddles with other penguins to preserve warmth in this chilly environment, where temperatures can fall below -60 degrees Celsius. Two months later, the male half his former weight, the egg hatches and a new penguin life begins – joining the battle for survival in one of the most desolate parts of the world.
Ross Dependency Postage in New Zealand
|Ross Dependency stamps are not valid for postage in New Zealand. Click here to find out more.|
Product Listing for 2004 Emperors of the Ross Dependency
Click on image to enlarge.
|Date of issue:||3 November 2004|
|Number of stamps:||Five|
|Denominations:||45c, 90c, $1.35, $1.50, $2.00|
|Stamps designed by:||Ocean Design, Wellington, New Zealand|
|Printer and process:||Joh. Enschedé Security Printing, Netherlands by offset lithography|
|Number of colours:||Four process colours|
|Stamp size and format:||30mm x 40mm vertical|
|Number of stamps per sheet:||50|
|Paper type:||Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor stamp paper|
|Perforation gauge:||13.25 x 14|
|Special blocks:||Plate/imprint blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet. Barcode, value and logo blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least two stamps from a sheet. Barcode blocks were available in both A and B formats.|
|Period of sale:||These stamps remained on sale until 2 November 2005.|