Wild & Domestic Fauna Of The Maltese Islands SI

Wild & Domestic Fauna Of The Maltese Islands

MaltaPost is issuing a set of two stamps depicting wild and domestic fauna of the Maltese Islands - the wild rabbit and the Maltese ox which are illustrated against Maltese scenery designed by Maltese artist Cedric Galea Pirotta. 

Wild & Domestic Fauna of the Maltese Islands 
Stamp Issue 

Wild Rabbit (Il-Fenek Selvagg) 

The wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), in Maltese "Fenek Selvagg" although it is not indigenous to the Maltese Islands it has been in Malta for centuries and is now considered part of the country's fauna. The wild rabbit is difficult to spot due to its greyish brown coat that blends well with its surrounding habitat. It is still encountered in the Maltese countryside particularly on the isolated island of Comino, where hunting is illegal all year round and where one of its natural predators, the weasel, is absent and the presence of birds of prey is limited. 

The female wild rabbit is generally smaller than the male and its colours are usually light brown or greyish with white underparts. Rabbits generally feed on roots and foliage of shrubs, tree bark as well as flowers that grow in garrigue and maquis. They are abundant breeders and have multiple litters per year. Interesting to know is that in cases of distress, this rabbit stamps its back limbs to warn other rabbits. 

Maltese Ox (Il-Gendus Malti) 

The presence of the Maltese ox (Bos taurus), "Il-Gendus Malti", in Malta dates back to the prehistoric era. In fact, many prehistoric remains such as bas-relief carvings and excavated pottery featuring illustrations of this species have been found around the Maltese Islands. It is endemic to the Maltese Islands and is listed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations as a unique breed in danger of extinction. This animal is lean, tranquil and resistant to the sun. 

In the past this breed was used as a working animal particularly because of its robust build, characterised by a large shoulder hump, pendulous dewlap and high rump. A few decades ago, this animal was a common feature of the Maltese farm, but due to the proliferation of mechanisation, its rearing has decreased drastically and only a few of its kind still survive. 

A herd of these animals is being kept at the National Agricultural Research and Development Centre for the purpose of conserving this native breed. 

The 0.37c stamp illustrating the wild rabbit will bear the official SEPAC (Small European Postal Administration Cooperation) logo and will form part of the joint stamp issue folder. The theme for this year's SEPAC collection will be 'Animals' and its members will be presenting stamps illustrating animals from their country. SEPAC members include Aland Post, Faroe Islands Post, Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau, Post Greenland, Guernsey Post, Iceland Post, Isle of Man Post, Jersey Post, Liechtenstein Post Corporation, MaltaPost, Monaco Post, San Marino Post, Luxembourg Post and Vatican Post.

Technical Details

Issue Date: 20.06.2013
Designer: Cedric Galea Pirotta
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 44mm x 31mm
Values: €0.37, €2.25