Sunday, July 27, 2014

Isle of Man Stamps: The Southern District Agricultural Society & Manx Ark Rare Breeds Project

This celebratory miniature sheet presents six paintings of rare British animals from the award-winning Island based artist Jeremy Paul, capturing a number of traditional British breeds which were heading for extinction.

His paintings recognise the work of the Manx Ark Project and celebrate the centenary of the Southern District Agricultural Society, whose show it is this weekend.

They focus upon a selection of endangered animals, including the Northern dairy shorthorn cattle, Cotswold sheep, Exmoor ponies, Irish moiled cattle, the Gloucestershire old spot pig and our very own Manx Loaghtan sheep.

Paul Davis of the Manx Ark Project said, "The beautiful animals depicted on these stamps underline what we stand to lose if we allow endangered breeds to become extinct. I am thrilled that the Isle of Man Post Office has recognised and commemorated our work with these precious resources."

The Manx Ark Project was the brainchild of Island based farmer Paul Davis, who developed the idea in conjunction with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in a combined effort to preserve traditional breeds from extinction.

Sarah Comish of the Southern District Agricultural Society commented, "The Southern District Agricultural Society members are very proud to be associated with both the Isle of Man Post Office and the Manx Ark Project and are extremely pleased with the Rare Breeds stamp issue. Dr Jeremy Paul has produced a series of outstanding paintings and these have been translated into a set of beautiful stamps produced by the Post Office. We hope that we can help to showcase the work of the Manx Ark Project at the Southern Show and encourage the protection of these valuable breeds for the next 100 years."

Situated in the midst of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man provides an ideal haven for some of these threatened species, acting as a sanctuary in the face of any epidemics which may destroy such animals in the surrounding countries of Britain and Ireland.

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins, said "We are delighted to play our part in raising awareness of this important initiative to our worldwide collector base. The Manx Ark Project is a further example of the huge importance which our farming community places on protecting fauna for future generations."

Valerie Caine
© July 2014

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