On May 13th, 2010, Canada Post began issuing a pair of stamps celebrating marine life. The two stamps form a joint issue with Sweden, who, like Canada, is surrounded by many species of marine life. The stamps were created by a Swedish designer and feature a harbour porpoise and sea otter. The Canada issue features elliptical perforations where the two stamps meet, whereas the Sweden issue features a maple leaf design in the perforations. There is also a micro-text hidden in the image of the sea otter.
The harbour porpoise is a small marine mammal related to dolphins and whales. They tend to stay close to the coast, which may explain why they often become trapped in fishing nets. They can live to the age of 20, although few rarely survive that long. While not officially under threat of extinction, they have been granted «special concern» status.
The sea otter is a member of the weasel family and is one of the smallest marine mammals. Unlike other marine mammals, such as the whale, sea otters do not have protective blubber to keep them warm in the water. They rely on their heavy, dense coat of fur to protect them from the cold and keep them waterproof. Unfortunately, this fur was long prized by trappers and sea otters almost became extinct due to hunting. Now, they are a protected species.
Sea otters are cuddly and playful, and can often be seen floating on their backs on the water’s surface. They do everything in the water; eat, sleep, mate and give birth. When they sleep on the water, they sometimes do so in pairs, linking paws to keep from drifting away. Or, they entangle themselves in seaweed to stay put!