Members who collect penguins on stamps will be familiar no doubt with the website of the Falkland Post Service Limited (FPSL), which provides postal and philatelic services for the Falkland Islands: http://falklandstamps.com/. The FPSL online shop provides the opportunity for collectors to buy stamps of the Falkland Islands, as well as new issues for South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Territory.
During the lock down, I though that it might be interesting to send to family and friends a selection of post cards from the Falklands, to create the illusion that I had somehow escaped the confines of my home and had escaped to the other side of the world. The FSPL offers an attractive range of illustrated post cards shown above, and I bought a selection of these. Alongside, I bought a 2003 stamp booklet of 8 self-adhesive “Airmail Postcard” stamps (£5.44), featuring some impressive artwork of the Southern Rockhopper Penguins (see below). I did have to check the postal rates on the FSPL website, as I could not quite believe that the cost of sending a postcard to Britain from the Falkland Islands would only be £0.68 pence, whereas when using Royal Mail, we have to pay £1.42 in the other direction. The £0.68 rate was valid from 1 July 2019.
When my postcards and stamps arrived, I emailed the FSPL to ask if I could send stamped and addressed postcards back to them, to put into the postal system, so that my family and friends would receive the “Greetings from the Falklands” cards. The FSPL kindly agreed to do this for me, and in due course I received myself some postcards with excellent circular date stamps on them, which made the exercise worthwhile as well as puzzling my relatives.
According to Falklands Conservation https://falklandsconservation.com/rockhopper the Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome) has a height of 48cm and a length of 56cm. The Rockhopper weighs between 3.5 and 4.o kg and migrates from the Falklands between April and September. The FSPL marked this migration in a set of four stamps issued on 18 October 2018, of which two showcased the Rockhopper; and two stamps the Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus). The FDC for this issue gives prominence to the Rockhopper in illustration which sits alongside the stamps (as below).
Falklands Conservation goes on to say that “the Falkland Islands hold a significant proportion of the world population (320,000 pairs or 36% of the global population in 2010). Historically, the Falkland population has undergone serious declines from the 1930’s.” Prior to the 1930s, the population was around a million, but in modern times, the Southern Rockhopper has suffered two starvation events: one in 2002-03; and one in 2015, which affected the population recovery. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (www.iucn.org) classifies the Southern Rockhopper as “vulnerable” on its red list, with the worldwide population of around 2.5 million (at 7 August 2018) in decline, notwithstanding that monitoring and recovery plans are in place.