To create awareness about endangered species, India Post and WWF recently launched a limited edition of postal covers

India’s rich biodiversity doesn’t stop with being featured on wallpapers, photographs and posters. Recently, India Post, along with WWF, launched special postal covers featuring two endangered species — the Red Panda and the Sparrow. These covers, launched as limited editions, were sold out the very day they were released at the recent District Level Philatelic Exhibition in New Delhi.

The covers were part of an initiative to spread awareness about species that are endangered and in need of urgent attention. The House Sparrow is no longer a common sight in cities. Its numbers are fast depleting due to limited availability of food in urban areas, pollution and mobile phone towers. “However, the reasons why the sparrow population has dramatically declined in recent years are still unclear,” says Sanjeev Singh Rana, director (operations).

The Red Panda is a mammal mostly found in regions in and around Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, North-West Bengal and parts of Meghalaya. “Its long-term survival is threatened due to habitat degradation and excessive extraction of wood for fuel. WWF India hopes that release of such special covers will increase awareness about these relatively lesser-known species and spur conservation efforts for the same,” he adds.

While the effort has not been to launch a series on different species, the Postal Department has released a few other covers in the past (with dolphins and tigers).

“There are no plans to release more covers as of now, but we have done so before on other species of importance,” says Sanjeev.