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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.

Technical Details

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

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