Sea Turtle Conservation, Brought to you by the U.S. Postal Service

Ah, the small thrilling victory of adorning your lackluster mail with a spiffy stamp. Now, with the U.S. Postal Service’s new Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp dedicated to animal conservation, you can combine personal accomplishment with moral responsibility, and also get a stamp of a really cute animal.

Selling for 11 cents more than individual First-Class Mail stamps, Save Vanishing Species stamps raise money for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Multinational Species Coalition, an alliance of conservationists, zoos, veterinarians, animal welfare groups, circuses and sportsmen. Illustrated by artist Nancy Stahl, the stamps feature and benefit tigers, rhinoceroses, great apes, Asian and African elephants, and sea turtles.

Struggling for Survival

Of the 7 species of sea turtles, 6 are found in U.S. waters (while the 7th is found only in Australia). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), all sea turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Just two weeks ago, the status of five populations of loggerhead sea turtles changed from threatened to endangered.

As documented in a recent National Wildlife Federation report, sea turtles face a myriad of threats, including:

  • destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats,
  • incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries,
  • entanglement in marine debris, and
  • vessel strikes

While strict regulations have been placed on commercial fishing practices, up to 4,600 sea turtles are killed annually, a number which could be vastly underestimated due to the lack of direct observation of turtle bycatch.

Speaking up for Sea Turtles

National Wildlife Federation is working on several fronts to help conserve sea turtles, including:

Green Sea Turtle by Thomas B McDonald
Shrimp trawlers who drag nets along the bottom of the ocean kill thousands of sea turtles annually. (Photo Credit: Thomas B McDonald)

By purchasing your own supply of Save Vanishing Species stamps (available in store or online), you can help sea turtles and other imperiled species, 11 cents at a time.

You can also support NWF’s endangered species conservation by making a symbolic adoption of a sea turtle. Adopt one today!