Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man rare breed project stamps issued

Isle of Man rare breeds Image copyright Isle of Man Stamps and Coins
Image caption The project has been described as an "Isle of Man Jurassic Park"

A project to nurture and protect rare breeds from extinction on the Isle of Man has been celebrated with a specially commissioned set of stamps.

The 'Manx Ark' project plans to establish a network of rare animal breeding centres, isolated from the UK, as insurance against disease.

Paul Davis, from the project, said he was thrilled their work to protect such precious resources had been recognised.

The stamps will be issued on the island on Wednesday.

Mr Davis added: "The beautiful animals depicted underline what we stand to lose if we allow endangered breeds to become extinct."

Image copyright Jeremy Paul
Image caption White Park Cattle are a very old breed kept in Britain for more than 2,000 years but which are now rare. In 1973 there were only about 60 animals left but today the number has grown to more than 750
Image copyright Jeremy Paul
Image caption Gloucestershire Old Spots are white and spotted, with ears which almost cover the face. It is thought to be one of the oldest pedigree spotted pig breeds in the world
Image copyright Jeremy Paul
Image caption The Northern Dairy Shorthorn originated on the boundaries of Yorkshire and Durham in the Tees valley. In 1944 more than 10,000 animals were registered, today less than 50 remain
Image copyright Jeremy Paul
Image caption The Irish Moiled is the rarest of the surviving indigenous breeds of Irish cattle - its name is derived from the Gaelic language and relates to the distinctive dome or mound on top of the head
Image copyright Jeremy Paul
Image caption In 1973, Hebridean sheep were identified by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as being in need of conservation. Since then, the breed has been revived and is kept in many parts of the world, including its native Hebrides

The stamps feature six paintings of rare breeds by the award winning wildlife artist Jeremy Paul.

The idea for the project was developed by Mr Davis - a local farm owner - and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The trust has been been working for more than 40 years to preserve traditional breeds and keep them from extinction and since its creation no breed has been lost.

Among the breeds featured are Manx Loaghtan sheep, Northern dairy shorthorn cattle and Exmoor ponies.

The special miniature sheet also pays tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Southern District Agricultural Society.

Sarah Comish, of the society, said: "We hope we can help to showcase the work of the Manx Ark Project at the Southern Show and encourage the protection of these valuable breeds for the next 100 years."

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