British Antarctic Territory

    • IAATO
    • IAATO
    • British Antarctic Territory - The 25th Anniversary of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO)


      The Government of the British Antarctic Territory is pleased to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) with the release of this special stamp issue.


      IAATO is a non-profit industry association and its founding principles and mission, to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private sector travel to the Antarctic, remain as true today as they did 25 years ago. The organisation, which was founded by seven operators in 1991, now has a global network of over 100 member companies including ship, yacht, air and land operators as well as tourism companies and bureaus, agents and specialist expedition management companies.


      Protecting the unique Antarctic environment is a collaborative effort. IAATO works within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty System, recognising that the protection of the continent is largely dependent upon the Treaty’s sound environmental policies. Members are committed to working diligently to establish extensive operational procedures, activity guidelines and restrictions, with the goal of "leaving the Antarctic Environment as pristine and majestic for future generations as it is today”. During the 2015-2016 season, 38,378 people visited Antarctica with IAATO members. Their high standards and self-regulatory approach mean that, to date, no discernible impact on the environment has been observed, while at the same time enabling people to continue experiencing Antarctica first-hand whilst protecting this extraordinary wilderness.


      The Government of the British Antarctic Territory works with IAATO to support effective visitor management and to better understand the tourism challenges of the future.


      66p: (Zodiac cruising among icebergs). All activities in Antarctica must undergo an assessment process by a relevant government authority before being granted permission to proceed. For IAATO activities, this means having less than a minor or transitory impact on the environment. Zodiac cruising offers a good means of observing wildlife without disturbance.


      76p (Tents lit at night): First-hand travel experiences lead to a better understanding of the destination, the need for responsible tourism and, ultimately, continued protection for future generations. IAATO’s wilderness etiquette underpins the recognition that the wilderness aspect is intrinsic to a visitor’s experience of Antarctica.


      £1.01 (Kayaks): IAATO members must incorporate relevant IAATO guidelines into their own operating procedures. Activities, such as kayaking, are led by experienced guides. IAATO provides an annual assessment for field staff to ensure they are up to date with the latest IAATO and Antarctic Treaty System requirements for safe and environmentally responsible operations.


      £1.22 (Vessel with penguins in foreground): The IAATO fleet consists of some 65 vessels. IAATO works closely with the International Hydrographic Organisation’s (IHO) Hydrographic Commission on Antarctica that promotes technical cooperation between Antarctic vessel operators in order to improve surveying and charting of shipping areas in the region.


      Technical details:

      Layout Bee Design

      Printer BDT International

      Process Lithography

      Perforation 14 per 2cms

      Stamp size 28.45 x 42.58mm

      Sheet Layout 10

      Release date Expected mid-November 2016

      Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


      Photography:

      66p Kim Crosbie

      76p Richard Wadey

      £1.01 Colin Tribe

      £1.22 Paul Teolis

      FDC Richard Haworth

      For further information, please contact Charles Pobjoy

      Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818181, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199

      email: charles@pobjoy.com or Avril Hadden email: ahadden@pobjoy.com

      www.pobjoystamps.com

    • Lifecycle Gentoo
    • Lifecycle Gentoo
    • British Antarctic Territory – Life Cycle of the Gentoo Penguin


      Gentoo penguins are the third largest species of penguin, after the emperor and king penguin. They reach heights of between 75 – 90cms and weigh between 5-6.5kgs, males being slightly. They belong to the genus Pygoscelis, which includes the Adélie and chinstrap penguin. Gentoo are black and white birds and can be easily distinguished from other penguins by their bright orange-red bill and the white patches above their eyes, which usually meet across the crown. They have brown eyes, yellow-orange feet and the most prominent tail of all penguins. As the gentoo walks its tail sweeps from side to side, hence the name Pygoscelis, which means ‘brush-tailed’.


      Gentoos are the most northerly of the 4 Antarctic species. They have a circumpolar distribution, breeding on sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula (46-65°S). They have a life expectancy of up to 20 years and the total breeding population is estimated to be 314,000 pairs. Breeding colonies rarely comprise more than a few hundred pairs, much smaller than other similar penguins. Unlike other species that nest alongside them they wait until the sea ice has retreated before heading for the nesting grounds, so are the last to arrive.


      Each pair will set about the task of constructing nests from stones, tussock grass, old feathers and moss. Nests can contain as many as 1,700 individual stones and stone theft is common. If a gentoo has an opportunity to peck another penguin it will, so nests tend to be spaced slightly out of reach of each other. Into these nests they lay two spherical white eggs which are incubated by both the male and female for up to 39 days. If necessary they are the only penguins that are able to lay a replacement clutch of 2 eggs. Egg-laying is usually completed by late October with both parents sharing the incubation duties for the next 34-36 days.


      Hatching is followed by 25-35 days when the chicks are brooded and guarded by their parents. After this time, the chicks are then large enough to become mobile and form into crèches. They are fed daily by both parents until eventually they fledge at 80-100 days.


      Gentoo penguins reach sexual maturity at the age of two years, although most start breeding at 3–4 years. They remain faithful to both their nesting sites and their breeding partners, with many forming long-lasting pair bonds.


      On land the gentoo walks with a humorous waddle, but once in the water they are the fastest underwater swimming bird. They can reach speeds of up to 36km per hour (with an average of 6.5km per hour) and are capable of diving to depths of 170m in pursuit of prey. They mainly feed on krill (50%) and fish (30%) with squid and other crustaceans as available making up the remaining 20%. They tend to prefer feeding inshore near to the breeding colony during daylight with most achieving depths of up to 50m. At sea they are subject to predation by leopard seals, sea lions and orcas, whilst skuas prey on eggs and chicks.


      Base A Port Lockroy is a designated Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty and is now a museum and the British Antarctic Territory’s main post office managed by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT). It is also known for its gentoo penguins, who return to the island each year to build their pebble nests, lay their eggs and raise their chicks during the short Antarctic summer months. It is believed the gentoos first begun nesting on the island in 1985. There are now an estimated 3000 gentoo penguins that return to Goudier Island each year to breed.


      The UKAHT, through its team on the ground, ensures that everything possible is done to minimise any tourism impact on them. Part of Goudier Island is cordoned off as a 'Penguin Control Colony' where visitors are not permitted. This allows the UKAHT team to monitor and compare the population size, distribution and breeding success of the 'control colony', who have very little contact with humans, with the other breeding penguins on the island, who are in close proximity both to the staff and visitors. Monitoring the penguins is carried out three times a year and the results are forwarded to the British Antarctic Survey. Evaluation of the statistics (records start in 1996) show that there has been no discernible impact from tourism on the gentoo penguins at Port Lockroy.


      Technical details:

      Designer Bee Design

      Printer (sheet stamps) BDT International Security Printing Ltd

      Printer (reel stamps) Lowe-Martin

      Process Lithography

      Perforation 14 per 2cms

      Stamp size 30.56 x 38mm

      Reel stamp size 25.3mm x 20.8mm (self-adhesive).

      Sheet Layout 10

      Release date Expected mid-November, 2016

      Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


      Photography:

      Egg © UKAHT, Florence Kuyper

      Chick © UKAHT, Claire Murphy

      Feeding: © UKAHT, Eleanor Land

      Adult with chicks: © UKAHT, Helen Annan

      Fledgling: © UKAHT, Claire Murphy

      Adult: © UKAHT, Helen Annan

      FDC: © UKAHT, Claire Murphy


      For further information, please contact Charles Pobjoy

      Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818181, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199

      email: charles@pobjoy.com or Avril Hadden email: ahadden@pobjoy.com

      www.pobjoystamps.com




    • Ocean Zones
    • Ocean Zones
    • British Antarctic Territory - The Antarctic Ocean Zones


      The Antarctic waters are those that lie south of the Antarctic Polar Front or Antarctic Convergence, in an area also known as the Southern Ocean. The region is characterised by cold surface waters (< 4 C), which are generally nutrient poor but, where the waters meet the continental shelf, nutrients are liberated and cause local areas of enhanced productivity. Close to the Antarctic continent the temperatures are even cooler and the ocean surface freezes each winter to form sea-ice.


      Epipelagic fauna

      The epipelagic zone is the upper sunlit zone of the oceans, typically extending from the surface to around 200 m. This is the productive zone of the ocean, in which tiny plants, the phytoplankton, use the energy of the sun to grow and reproduce. Production in the epipelagic zone feeds the oceans, either by material falling from the surface layer or by deeper living species migrating to the epipelagic zone to feed.


      Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is widely regarded as the most important species found in this zone. Antarctic krill is a small shrimp-like animal that reaches around 50 mm in length. It is highly abundant, particularly in the area of the Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea, forming enormous swarms which can be miles in length and a hundred metres deep. Krill are regarded as the key species in the Southern Ocean food-web, consuming phytoplankton and providing the principal prey for many species of penguin, whale and seal.


      Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum) are another important member of the epipelagic fauna, but are restricted to the cold (0 to -2 C) surface waters close to the Antarctic continent. In order to survive at such cold temperatures, the blood of Antarctic silverfish contains special anti-freeze proteins. Antarctic silverfish reach a maximum size of 25 cm, and whilst the younger fish are limited to the epipelagic layer, adults can be found as deep as 700 m. Antarctic silverfish are important prey for emperor and Adélie penguins, Antarctic toothfish and Weddell seals.


      The Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) is a large seal (up to 600 kgs) that is named after the British explorer and sealer, James Weddell. Weddell seals are the most southerly of all mammals and breeds on fast ice, close to the Antarctic continent. Adults are brownish, with a lighter mottled underside. These psychrophilic seals dive to depths of 500 m or more and can stay under water for over 80 minutes whilst they forage on fish and squid.


      Mesopelagic fauna

      Also known as the twilight zone, the mesopelagic layer extends from the lower limit of the epipelagic layer to 1000 m. Only a limited amount of light reaches the mesopelagic layer and many of the animals produce their own light using a process called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence can be used to attract prey, attract mates, as a means of distracting predators or as a form of camouflage. Some mesopelagic animals will venture into the surface at night to feed, but return to the relative safety of the darker, deeper mesopelagic zone during day.


      The Antarctic lantern fish (Electrona antarctica) is one of the most abundant fish in the mesopelagic layer of the Southern Ocean. Like other lantern fish, this silvery fish, which grows to around 120 mm, has a row of light organs on the underside, which are thought to camouflage the fish when viewed from below by possible predators. Male and female lantern fish also have different lights on the tail region, which are important for identifying potential partners. These abundant fish feed on small crustaceans and are themselves the prey of penguins and seals.




      The glacial squid (Galiteuthis glacialis) is one of the most abundant and widely distributed squid species in the Southern Ocean, and reaches a maximum size of around 50 cm. Smaller squid are found in depths of 200-400 m, whilst larger adults occur deeper. Glacial squid predate on planktonic crustacea and are consumed by Ross seals, fish and albatross. How the deep-living squid are consumed by albatross is a bit of a mystery, but it is thought that female glacial squid float to the surface after their single spawning event and are then susceptible to feeding albatross.


      The pram bug (Phronima sp.) is a strange type of amphipod crustacean that is found in the mesopelagic layers of the world’s oceans and are said to have been the inspiration for film Alien. Female pram bugs use their powerful claws to turn gelatinous salps into mobile nurseries for their eggs and young.


      Bathypelagic fauna

      The bathypelagic (or midnight) zone, which extends from 1,000 m down to 4,000 m, is completely dark except for the bioluminescence produced by many of the animals. The name bathypelagic is derived from the Greek bathys meaning deep. The fauna of the bathypelagic zone is not unique to the Southern Ocean, with many species also known to occur further north.


      The anglerfish or dreamer (Oneirodes notius) is a rather fearsome looking ambush predator that uses a modified fin as an illuminated fishing rod to lure prey. Unwitting fish that are attracted to the light are quickly snaffled by the large mouth, which is armed with sharp teeth. The dark colour of the fish ensures it is invisible to both predators and prey, but it is known to be consumed by Antarctic toothfish.


      The colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) is one of the giants of the deep-sea, and the largest living invertebrate, reaching over 10 m in length and up to 750 kgs in weight. The eight arms and two tentacles of the colossal squid are equipped with suckers and rotating hooks that enable it to grasp their fish prey and, possibly, battle with predators, such as the sperm whale. Many sperm whales carry scars that are believed to be caused by the hooks of the colossal squid.


      The scaly dragonfish (Stomias boa boa) is a slender fish, with a large mouth and an impressive set of teeth. The scaly dragonfish is widely distributed in the world’s oceans, inhabiting the bathypelagic zone during the day, but venturing into the mesopelagic at night to find its prey. It uses its barbell to attract fish prey and has a row of lights on the underside to provide camouflage.


      Abyssopelagic fauna

      The abyssopelagic zone, which extends from 4,000 m to the sea-floor, is one of the most inaccessible and hence least known regions on the planet. The term abysso is derived from the Greek abyssos, meaning bottomless. This sparsely populated zone has little energy input and the fauna includes some strange creatures that have adapted to a lightless and low energy environment.


      The dogtooth grenadier (Cynomacrurus piriei) is a pelagic rattail that reaches 50 cm total length. The rattails are a group of deep-sea fish that take their name from the long, tapered, rat-like tail. Most are associated with the sea-floor, but the dogtooth grenadier is an exception being pelagic. Although included in the abyssopelagic fauna, it is also found in the bathyepelagic, which has been subject to much greater sampling effort.


      The deep-sea alarm (or crown) jellyfish (Atolla wyvillei) has a deep red disc surrounded by 20 normal tentacles and one enlarged one. The alarm jellyfish gets its name from the bioluminescent flashes it emits when startled or attacked by predators. These are thought to be a “burglar alarm’, intended to attract bigger predators to whatever is attacking the jellyfish, allowing the jellyfish to escape predation.


      The blind or dumbo octopus (Cirrothauma murrayi) is one of the deep-living “dumbo octopus” that have large fins and arms covered with long hair-like cirri. The blind octopus reaches a metre in length and has been caught in nets or on camera from as deep as 5000 m. Although also known as the blind octopus, Cirrothauma does have vestigial eyes, but they lack lens and are simply light sensitive organs.


      Text Courtesy of Dr Martin Collins.


      Technical details:

      Artist Nick Shewring

      Printer Cartor Security Printing

      Process Lithography

      Perforation 14 per 2cms

      Stamp size 42 x 28mm

      Sheetlet size 170 x 155mm

      Sheet Layout 66p, 76p, £1.01 & £1.21 in sheets of 10 stamps.

      Food Web Sheetlet 12 x 66p stamps

      Release date Expected mid-November, 2016

      Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd


      For further information, please contact Charles Pobjoy

      Pobjoy Mint Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 1737 818181, Fax: +44 (0) 1737 818199

      Email: charles@pobjoy.com or Avril Hadden email: ahadden@pobjoy.com

      www.pobjoystamps.com