Sunday, 11 November 2012

2012 Children's Health: New Zealand Sea Lion

New Zealand Post is proud to continue to support Te Puna Whaiora as  The New Zealand Foundation for Child and Family Health and Development with its annual Children’s Health stamp issue.

Therefore New Zealand Post issued the 2012 Children’s Health stamp issue features the New Zealand sea lion on the first of August 2012. The mother of sea lion (as shown in above miniature sheet) is shown sniffing her pup for recognition before taking her for feeding. Just like children, pups are dependent on their mothers for protection, and this unique product portrays the close relationship they share.

set lion
The 70c gummed stamp presents a New Zealand sea lion pup in the Sub-Antarctic Islands.
Sea lions live all over the world whether in the wild, in marine parks, and sometimes even in cities. However, the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) or whakahao lives only in New Zealand and is sadly listed as nationally critical.

It is monotypic of its genus.The primary habitat of New Zealand Sea Lions is several sub-Antarctic islands south of New Zealand and their surrounding waters. The breeding pattern of sea lions is very similar to that of fur seals, with males arriving in November to set up territories. Females give birth to single pups every one or two years, and pups are born in December and January each year. 

An inquisitive pup is featured on the 70c self-adhesive stamp.Pups may be weaned anywhere from nine months to over a year. Females start mating at four years, and males later.  

As pups grow older, they travel up to 175 kilometres from the coast to feed, and dive to depths of up to 600 metres. 

The $1.40 gummed stamp features a sub-adult male on Stewart Island. Male sea lions are typically brown/black in colour and grow to 350-500 kilograms. All New Zealand sea lions are known for their blunt noses and short whiskers.

The New Zealand sea lion breeds mainly in New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic Islands, however a slow return to mainland New Zealand is now occurring. 

A small number now breed on the Otago coast, where 45 pups were born between 1994 and 2010. This intelligent mammal can also be found on Stewart Island (Rakiura).


The highlight of the 2012 Children’s Health stamp issue is the miniature sheet, which takes the shape of a mother and pup. This playful mammal is one of the rarest species of sea lion in the world, and just like all children, it needs our ongoing care and attention in order to thrive.

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