South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - Biodiversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims to conserve biological diversity, promote sustainable use of its components and ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. It was signed by the UK in 1992 and ratified in 1994. On the 27th March 2015 the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) announced that the CBD would be extended to South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI).
The extension of the CBD is a demonstration of the commitment of the GSGSSI and the UK Government to the conservation and sustainable management of the Territory’s environment, which is home to an array of marine and terrestrial wildlife. It builds on recent work to protect biodiversity including the designation of a Marine Protected Area and initiatives to eradicate invasive species. Achieving the extension of the CBD to SGSSI was facilitated by close collaboration between GSGSSI, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Greater burnet Aceana magellanica
This low growing shrub-like herb is abundant in the coastal regions of South Georgia and can form large swathes on sheltered moist slopes. It is easily recognisable by its red-tinged prickly seed heads that stick to birds and seals as a dispersal mechanism. A member of the rose family, this species is found throughout the sub-Antarctic region.
Tussac beetle Hydromedion sparsutum
South Georgia’s terrestrial habitats are home to almost 200 species of invertebrates and the tussac beetle is one of the largest and most conspicuous. It is found in long vegetation where there is a layer of damp debris or leaf litter to live under and feed on. In recent years, populations appear to have declined due to increases in an introduced predatory ground beetle.
Macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus
South Georgia is home to around a million pairs of macaroni penguins. There are numerous colonies around the coastline but the biggest are at Elsehul, Bird Island and the Willis Islands. Easily identifiable by the golden plumes above its eyes, the macaroni penguin is known for its raucous braying and trumpet like call. Colonies on South Georgia appear to be declining, which may be the result of changes in ocean dynamics or competition for food with fur seals.
Sea spider Pycnogonida
This group of arthropods are found solely in the marine environment and live on the sea floor preying on soft-bodied colonial organisms. South Georgia is home to a diverse array of sea spider species, some of which can grow as large as a dinner plate. Getting its name from its eight long legs, they are an enigmatic group having similarities with spiders, crustaceans, and even marine worms.
Crested bigscale Poromitra crassiceps
Getting its name from the thick ridges on its head, the crested bigscale feeds on small crustaceans, especially on seamounts and knolls. A rare visitor to South Georgia, it has a wide global distribution and typically lives at depths of more than 1000m.
Leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx
A ferocious predator that spends most of its life in the pack ice, leopard seals are common visitors to South Georgia in the winter months. Named for the black spots on the fur around their neck, these solitary animals feed on seals and penguins and can often been seen lurking off colonies on the lookout for unwary prey.
Crested Bigscale Martin Collins
Sea Spider Christoph Held
All other Images Alastair Wilson
Layout Bee Design
Printer BDT International Security Printing
Process Stochastic lithography
Perforation 14 per 2cms
Stamp size 25.73 x 21mm
Sheet Layout 10
Release date 21 December, 2015
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd