Saturday, October 3, 2015

10th Anniversary of the Mauritius Post Ltd. (2003-2013)

The Mauritius released on 9 October 2013 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark the 10th anniversary of the privatisation of postal services in Mauritius.


The reforms of the postal sector in the early 21st century as part of the government initiative, aimed at increasing efficiency and competitiveness to face the challenges in the sectors concerned, especially the postal service with the electronic substitutions and liberalisation concept gaining ground.

This has lead to the creation of the Mauritius Post Ltd., a private company incorporated on 11 October 2001 with the Government as the majority shareholder. However actual operations started in 2003. Appropriate legislations were enacted, the main ones being the Postal Services Act 2002 and the Post Office Transfer of Undertaking Act 2002.


The mission of the Mauritius Post was identical to that of its predecessor, the Mauritius Postal Services, and was "to provide access to an array of services across the country including postal, electronic, financial and government-related services through a wide network of branches".

The global trend of dwindling mail volumes due to the increasing use of electronic means of communication triggered the rethinking of the way postal services were delivered.

One of the main outcomes of this rethinking was the diversification into the provision of non-postal services.

After some three and a half tough years at the start, the Mauritius Post was turned around and became viable (applicable as at October 2013).

In 2013, the Mauritius Post had a network of 114 Post Offices in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Agaléga and two Mobile Post Offices.


World Post Day 2013 special cachet available
at the Philatelic Bureau, Port Louis on 9 October 2013 only.


Technical Details


Release date: 9 October 2013
Stamp: Rs50 - 24th UPU Congress, Kenya 2008
            From the eponymous issue of 9 October 2007

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fauna & Flora 2013

The Mauritius Post Ltd. released on 30 August 2013 a set of three commemorative stamps on the theme 'Fauna & Flora'. The Rs3 stamp depicts the rarest palm in the world, Hyophorbe amaricaulis, and the Rs10 and Rs18 stamps a species of orchid (Oeoniella polystachys) and one of bird (Phedina borbonica) that can be found in the Bras D'Eau National Park.



Rs3 - Hurricane Palm (Hyophorbe amaricaulis)




Unique to the island of Mauritius, Hyophorbe amaricaulis, commonly know as Hurricane Palm or the Loneliest Palm is classified as 'Critically Endangered' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

It was first collected by Philibert Commerson around 1770. It is today the rarest palm in the world, known from a single specimen that survived the transformation of a patch of native forest into a botanical garden in Curepipe.

Little hope of discovering other individuals exists as most of the original wet forest habitat of this conspicuous species has been destroyed.

The lonely plant cannot reproduce naturally since it produces female and male flowers at different times. In vitro propagation was tried in Mauritius (late 1990's/ early 2000's), which did not pass the stage of callus.

Attempts in Ireland (1980's) and in England (2008) produced a handful of plantlets, which died after transplantation. Therefore, the only hope to save the species from extinction seems to reside in cloning.

Rs10 - Orchid (Oeoniella polystachys)



In Mauritius, this species was initially considered to be synonymous with Oeoniella aphrodite, but its inflorescence and flower structure are different from the latter.

Oeoniella polystachys is endemic to the south western Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Réunion, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles, bearing white flowers of about 2-3 cm across, blooming for about a month from late July to late November.

It is a common species in Madagascar, occurring mostly on the east coast. In Réunion, it is found in the northern dry forests, where its population is declining.

In Mauritius, the best population is found on Ile aux Aigrettes, and in Bras D'eau.  Scattered plants exist at Mountain Chat, La Nicolière and Bambous Mountain Range and Ferney (between Mountain Camizard to Mountain Lion)

Rs18 - Mascarene Swallow (Phedina borbonica)



The Mascarene Swallow, also known as the Mascarene Martin and the 'grosse hirondelle' in French, is a rare bird with a total population of less than 500 pairs in Mauritius.

The Mascarene Swallow nests singly or in small loose colonies of up to 20 nests in cavities which provide a flat ledge, or behind a tuft of vegetation.

The Mascarene Swallow is a stoutly built, brown bird with fast, powerful, swooping flight interspersed with fluttering.

The upper parts are earth-brown; under parts are much paler, with dark streaks. It is commonly confused with the Mascarene Cave Swiftlet (Aerodramus francicus) which is smaller, has longer and narrower wings, is blackish-brown rather than earth-brown upper parts and has a paler rump-patch.

In Mauritius, the Mascarene Swallow is found from sea level to the highest point, but is unevenly distributed with known colonies in the the west and south, and is occasionally recorded in the east of the island. The bird feeds over built-up areas, lakes, reservoirs, around cliffs, filao (Casuarina species) belts, and shorelines.

It is often seen perching on electric wires, trees, ground or shoreline sand and rocks.

The Mascarene Swallow catches insects such as beetles, bugs, flies, wasps and ants in flight.

Nests may be built on sheltered ledges of buildings and bridges, or in cliffs, caves or banks, often above water, and has been recorded breeding on boats moored in the Black River Bay.

The nest is an open platform or saucer resting on a flat base, and is made out of plant fibres such as Casuarina needles, rough grass, small twigs, dead steams or algae, lined with feathers or fine plant material. Two white and lightly spotted brown eggs are laid between September and December.

The Mascarene Swallow population might be increasing, but it is still considered rare.

Unofficial FDC sent by express delivery from Monneron Hill Post Office.

The Bras D'Eau National Park 


The Bras D'Eau National Park was proclaimed on 25 October 2011 under section 11(1) of the Wildlife adn National Parks Act 1993.

It is of an area of 497.2 ha and is mainly under Mahogany, Araucaria, Tecoma and Eucalyptus plantations. It also harbours patches of native vegetation.

It is one of the last remnants of the coastal lowland dry dwarf forest. It is the habitat for 10 species of butterfly and is well-known for its population of birds.

The Bras D'Eau National Park also has a thriving mangrove forest.


Source: FDC insert.

Technical details:


Date of issue: 30 August 2013
Illustration
 Rs3 - Hurricane Palm (Hyophorbe amaricaulis)
 Rs10 - Orchid (Oeoniella polystachys)
 Rs18 - Mascarene Swallow (Phedina borbonica)
Graphic works: Neshvin Ramsawmy
Size:  29.94 x 44.45 mm
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd., Dublin
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by gutter
Watermark: w18 - CASCO
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Courtesy:
 Mauritius Herbarium
 Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
 BirdLife International

Thursday, September 24, 2015

63rd FIFA Congress Mauritius 2013

The Mauritius Post released on 30 May 2013 a new stamp on the occasion of the 63rd FIFA Congress held in Mauritius on 30 and 31 May 2013.


Some 1000 delegates from 209 member associations and journalists from international newspapers and magazines attended this international congress presided by Joseph Blatter, the President of the "Fédération Internationale de Football" (FIFA).

FIFA was founded in 1904 and is based in Zurich; it has 209 member associations, employs some 400 people from over 40 nations and is composed of a Congress (legislative body), an Executive Committee (executive body) and General Secretariat (administrative body). The FIFA World Cup provides the finances and momentum to sustain FIFA's wider mission to 'develop the game, touch the world and build a better future'.



In Mauritius, the governing body of football is the Mauritius Football Association (MFA), founded in 1952 and affiliated to FIFA in 1962. It is currently the largest sports federation in Mauritius with 11,000 registered footballers.


Source: FDC insert

Technical details:


Date of issue: 30 May 2013
Illustration: Rs18 - Logo of the 63rd Congress
Design: FIFA
Graphic works (stamps & FDC): Neshvin Ramsawmy
Size:  29.94  44.45 mm
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd., Dublin
Process: Litography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by a gutter
Watermark: w18 - CASCO
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Courtesy: The Mauritius Football Association and FIFA

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Maurice Ile Durable & 150th Anniversary of Red Cross

The Mauritius Post released on 30 May 2013 two stamps on the theme "Maurice Ile Durable" and one stamp to mark the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross.


Maurice Ile Durable (MID, Mauritius a Sustainable Island)




MID is a societal project which aims to deliver sustainable growth. Announced in 2008, the roots of MID lie in the then Government's response to the global energy crisis of 2007.

However MID now aims to facilitate economic growth that respects the limitations of natural resources; a growth that is delivered by an empowered population, able to grasp the new opportunities of a green economy; and that also distributes wealth equitably.

The Goals of MID


The objective of MID is to achieve sustainable development. Specific goals have been set for the five 'Es':
Energy: to ensure that the Republic of Mauritius is an efficient user of energy, with its economy decoupled from fossil fuel.
Environment: to ensure sound environmental management and sustainability of our ecosystem services.
Employment/ Economy: to green the economy with decent jobs, offering long term career prospects.
Education: to have an education system that promotes the holistic development of all citizens.
Equity: to ensure that all citizens are able to contribute in the Republic's continuing growth and share its combined wealth.

150 Years of Humanitarian Action by the Red Cross and the Royal Crescent




In 1863, the Red Cross Society was founded in Geneva by Henri Dunant. 150 years later, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Movements have 188 national societies with approximately 97 million volunteers to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

The movement, imbued with solidarity and cooperation, is the largest humanitarian network in the world. It consists of several distinct organisations that are legally independent from each  other, but are united within the movement through basic Fundamental Principles, objectives, symbols, statutes and governing organisations.

Each entity works in its home country according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international movement.

The Mauritius Red Cross Society (MRCS), established in 1973 by an Act of Parliament; celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013.

With over 500 volunteers from six branches around Mauritius including Rodrigues, the MRCS is reinforcing its unique status as 'auxiliary organisation to the State',

The mission of the MRCS is based on the Geneva Conventions, the International Humanitarian Law and the seven Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement: humanity, independence, impartiality, neutrality, unity, universality, and volunteering.

N.B.: The text above is adapted from the insert.

Unofficial FDC registered at Waterfront Post Office.
Rs18 63rd FIFA Congress stamp released on the same day.

Technical details:


Date of issue: 30 May 2013
Illustration
 Rs2 - Solar Energy (MID)
 Rs6 - Wind Energy (MID)
 Rs3 - Red Cross & Portrait of Henri Dunant
Graphic works: Neshvin Ramsawmy
Size:  29.94 x 44.45 mm
Printer: BDT International Security Printing Ltd., Dublin
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by gutter
Watermark: w18 - CASCO
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Courtesy:
 MID Commission (text and photos)
 Mauritius Red Cross Society (text)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sites & Monuments

The Mauritius Post released on 18 April 2013 a set of four commemorative stamps on the theme 'Sites & Monuments'.



Rs5 - Prison de Belle Mare



The Belle Mare Prison, situated on the premises of Constance La Gaieté Sugar Estates was founded in 1783. It is one of the rare preserved structures reminding us of the treatment meted out to slaves during the 18th and the 19th centuries in Mauritius.

Most sugar plantations had slaves and the Letter Patents enacted under the Code Noir in 1723 provided various forms of punishment for offences committed by slaves.

During the early British occupation until the abolition of slavery in Mauritius in 1835, the conditions of slaves fared no better.

The Belle Mare Prison is made of basalt stone and lime mortar. The building is divided into three blocks; the longest block about 6.38 metres in length was used to keep slaves under restraint in fetters. Several cells are present and the original door openings are quite low.

The original structure of the building has undoubtedly been altered and it was at one time even used by the sugar estate for tobacco curing.

The Belle Mare Prison was proclaimed a National Heritage site in 1951.

Rs9 - Château de Bel Ombre



The Domaine de Bel Ombre was created in 1765 and in the early 19th century, the estate at Bel Ombre was planted with sugar cane on the coastal plains and produced sugar.

Charles Telfair, from 1816 to 1833, developed this estate to a great extent by improving the sugar cane culture both field and milling operations and produced wood from the forests on hill slopes.

The estate had various owners in the 19th century. It is believed that the present plantation house, the  Château de Bel Ombre (Bel Ombre Mansion), was built by a rich Indian owner, Mr. Hajee Jackaria Hajee Ahmed who never came to Mauritius.

It was designed by the architect who built the Treasury building, now the Prime Minister's Office.

Rs10 - IBL Building, Bowen Square, Port Louis



In the early 19th century, Mauritius experienced a fast expanding economy due to a soaring sugar industry and a rapid development of trading activities.

The Thomas Blyth, Sons & Co. and the Hunter, Ireland & Co. were established in 1830 and 1850 respectively.

Hunter, Ireland & Co., renamed Ireland Fraser & Co. on 1 July 1860, built impressive colonial style buildings in Port Louis in 1879 to House Ireland, Fraser & Co., General Merchants and Commission Agents; the Bowen Square was created.

The company was also known as Blyth Brothers and was involved in trade, especially in the export of sugar, in shipping and in insurance.

At the time, this stone building was in stark contrast with the other existing commercial ones of Port Louis. In November 1979, it became the registered office of Ireland Blyth Ltd. Since 2007, it is the registered office of Afrasia Bank Ltd.

Bowen Square is named after Sir George Ferguson Bowen, Governor of Mauritius from 1879 to 1882.

Rs18 - Le Batelage, Souillac




The Port of Souillac was an important strategic point during the French occupation but it was not before 1787 that it was provided with the necessary infrastructure and wharfs to facilitate access to coasters and other vessels of low tonnage.

Souillac was then a busy port area and the docks constructed within its precincts and which have of late been renovated as a tourist site, served as store for bales of sugar and goods before being shipped to Port Louis.

The Rs18 stamp is the only reproduction of a painting - by Y. Gunnoo - and the only stamp not to bear the location - Souillac - of the depicted place.

Unofficial registered FDC sent by express delivery with Advice of Delivery (AR)
from Port Louis GPO.

The above text is adapted from the insert.

Technical Details


Date of issue: 18 April 2013
Illustrations:
 Rs5 - Belle Mare Prison
 Rs9 - Bel Ombre Mansion
 Rs10 - IBL Building, Bowen Square, Port Louis
 Rs18 - Le Batelage, Souillac
 FDC - Bowen Square, Port Louis
Graphic works: Neshvin Ramsawmy
Size:  44.45 x 29.94 mm
Printer: BDT International Printing Ltd., Dublin, Ireland
Process: Lithography
Number per sheet: 50 stamps set in two panes of 25 separated by a gutter
Perforation: 14 x 2 cm
Watermark: w18 - CASCO
Courtesy:
  Constance La Gaieté
  Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre
  Ireland Blyth Ltd.
  Mr. Yeshen Gunnoo, artist
  Mr. Benjamin Moutou, historian

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

30th, 40th and 45th Anniversaries of Independence of Mauritius

The Mauritius Postal Services issued a Special Commemorative Cover on 12 March 1998 to mark 30 years of independence of Mauritius.

The paille-en-queue (a.k.a. phaéton) featured on the cover and in the special cachet.
Two indigenous species in Mauritius: the White-tailed Tropic Bird and the Red-tailed one.

Mauritius gained independence on 12 March 1968 from the United Kingdom with Queen Elizabeth II as Monarch; Mauritius was previously also a Dutch (1638-1710) and a French colony (1715-1810). On 12 March 1992, Mauritius attained the status of Republic within the Commonwealth with the President of Mauritius as Head of State.

Some remnants of the British period are our judiciary, the First-Past-The-Post electoral system and our driving on the left.

The Mauritius Post issued Special Commemorative Covers on 12 March 2008 and in 2013 to celebrate the 40th and 45th anniversaries of independence respectively.

Special cachet with 40th anniversary slogan in Mauritian Creole:
"Nou pays, nou fierté." Our country, our pride.

Note the difference in spelling of the Mauritian Creole word for 'country': "pays" like in French in 2008 and "pei" in 2013, and the use of accents in 2008 (for "fierté") and not in 2013 (for "pei").

"Enn Pei, Enn Nasion, Enn Destin." One Country, One Nation, One Destiny.

Both SCCs portray on the left the lowering of the Union Jack and the hoisting of the new Mauritian flag at  the Champs de Mars racetrack where thousands gathered.

On the right, Sir John Shaw Rennie, the last Governor, i.e. the acting Head of State, of colonial Mauritius congratulates Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the first Prime Minister of independent Mauritius. After independence, the former became Governor-General of Mauritius.

The recurrence of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, dubbed by some 'The Father of the Nation,'  on these SCCs and in the corresponding inserts, unfortunately does not reflect the work and efforts of other founding figures of independent Mauritius.

Private philatelic cover serviced at the Philatelic Bureau, Port Louis on 12 March 2013.

12th of March being a public holiday in Mauritius, all outlets of the Mauritius Post are closed, with the only exceptions of the Postal Museum in Port Louis and the Philatelic Bureau, located in the Museum, opened to tourists and philatelists who wish to have their covers or mail serviced with datestamps indicating 12 March, independence day.

Commemorative stamps were released for the 5th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of independence, and definitive stamps (the 'History of Mauritius' set) for the 10th anniversary.

P.S.: The Postal Museum and, by extension, the Philatelic Bureau are open on public holidays; unless the public holiday is on a Sunday in which case the Postal Museum is closed. The last time the Postal Museum was exceptionally open on a Sunday was on 9 October 2011, World Post Day, when two stamps were being released. Selected Post Offices throughout the island also opened for business for limited hours on that day.


Technical Details


30th Anniversary Cover
Release date: 12 March 1998
Stamp: Rs10 - 'POST OFFICE' 1d. and 2d. on silver background
            From the '150th Anniversary of the 'POST OFFICE' Stamps' issue of 22 September 1997.

40th Anniversary Cover
Release date: 12 March 2008
Stamp: Rs15 - Painting published by Harrison, 1798
            From the 'Dodo (Raphus cucullatus)' issue of 25 June 2007.

45th Anniversary Cover
Release date: 12 March 2013
Stamp: Rs8 - Anthurium andreanum var tropical
            From the 'Anthurium' issue of 1 December 2004

Monday, September 7, 2015

150th Birth Anniversary of Baron Pierre de Coubertin (1863-2013)

The Mauritius Post released on 31 January 2013 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of modern Olympic Games.


Born on 1 January 1863 in Paris, France in a family of Italian origin, Pierre Fredy de Coubertin studied at a Jesuit school and then at the "Ecole de Sciences politiques" (School of Political Science).

He spent part of his youth in the familial home, the Mirville mansion in Haute-Normandie, northern France, and in Paris, at 20, Oudinot Street, where the seat of the International Olympic Committee was initially located.

Pierre de Coubertin founded the first International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 23 June 1894 in Sorbonne, Paris; the first Games were awarded to Greece, the cradle of Ancient Olympic Games.

De Coubertin only became the President of the IOC in 1896 until his resignation in 1925. He was passionate about history, sports, pedagogy, sociology, cultural heritage, art and politics and was a keen writer and sportsman.

The Olympic rings (five inter-locking rings coloured blue, yellow, black, green and red on a white background, mistakenly reproduced on the SCC) combine the colours of the flags of all participating countries at that time. 

Baron Pierre de Coubertin passed away on 2 September 1937 at the age of 74.

N.B.: Part of the above text was translated from French from the insert.

Technical Details:


Release date: 31 January 2013
Stamp: Rs25 - Kite Flying
            From the 'Traditional Games' issue of 7 December 2006.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Inauguration of Eau Coulée Post Office

The Posts and Telegraphs Department of Mauritius released on 8 February 1991 a Special Cover to mark the inauguration of Eau Coulée Post Office.


Eau Coulée is a locality of the town of Curepipe. It lies in the centre of the island in the Plaine Wilhems District.

Prior to 1991, no post office serviced Eau Coulée. If I am not mistaken, the closest Post Office was that of Curepipe Road, now closed.

Four Post Offices currently service Curepipe: Curepipe, Eau Coulée, Floréal, and Forest Side.

Technical Details:


Release date: 8 February 1991

Stamps:
40c - Sir Aneerood Jugnauth at desk
          From the '60th Anniversary of Prime Minister Sir Aneerood Jugnauth' issue of 29 March 1990

Rs3 - Submarine View
         From the 'Protection of the Environment' definitive issue of 11 March 1989

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore Post released on 7 August 2015 two se-tenant $1.30 stamps to commemorate the listing of the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Created in 1859 at its present location, the Singapore Botanic Gardens was initially a plan of Sir Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), the founder of modern Singapore and a keen naturalist, when he developed in 1822 the 'Botanical and Experimental Garden' in Fort Canning.

The Singapore Botanic Gardens became on 4 July 2015 the first and only tropical garden to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site during the 39th World Heritage Committee held in Bonn, Germany from 28 June to 8 July 2015.

Special thanks to Terence for this superb FDC sent from Paya Lebar Post Office on the first day of issue.


Acknowledgements: Eric Contesse (http://timbredujura.blogspot.com/2015/08/singapore-has-its-first-unesco-world.html)

Website of the SBG: https://www.sbg.org.sg/

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

50th Anniversary of the Independence of Singapore (1965-2015)

2015 marks 50 years since Singapore became independent. After 'Our Journey Together' in 2013 and 'I am Singaporean' in 2014, Singapore Post released on 5 August 2015 another set of stamps titled 'A Brighter Future Together' to celebrate the country's golden jubilee.


The stamps convey the following messages:

1st Local - United As One People
2nd Local - A Smart Singapore
60c -  Hear Us Roar
70c - Realising Our Aspirations
90c - Our Heritage, Our Culture, Our Future
$1.30 - Harmonious at Heart

The back of the official FDC.


Thank you very much Terence for these really nice FDCs sent from Sengkang Central Post Office on the first day of issue.

A $5 miniature sheet printed by offset lithography with gold-coloured aluminium hot stamped with Guilloché effect was also released.


The insert.

Terence also sent me these cinderella stamps. Cinderella stamps are "virtually anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration." (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_stamp)


The World Stamp Exhibition was held in Singapore from 14-19 August 2015 and joint issues scheduled in the context of these golden jubilee celebrations.

Logo of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Dodo Philatelic Society

Are you interested in Mauritian philately too?
Join the Dodo Philatelic Society (DPS) then!

Founded on 21 December 2012, the DPS is a fully-registered association run by keen Mauritian philatelists which meets on the last Saturday of each month at the Postal Museum, Port Louis at 1 p.m.

The next meeting is scheduled on 26 September next.

The aim of the DPS is to promote the passion of stamp collecting and the study of Mauritian postal history and the evolution of our postal system.

Membership is open to both locals and foreigners; you must only be at least 14 years old.
Minors' memberships have to be endorsed by a responsible party.

Fees


Entry fee: Rs50
Yearly subscription fee* for locals: Rs240
Yearly subscription fee for foreigners: Rs500

*Subscription fee includes postage for agendas.

The membership application form can be downloaded from the following link:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6-FUeTrT9eBcVFMLWR0UmxkaFE/view?usp=sharing


All correspondence must be addressed to:

The Secretary
Dodo Philatelic Society
P.O. Box 593
Port Louis 11307
Mauritius

Email: dodophilatelicsociety@gmail.com

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The UN International Meeting for the Sustainable Development of SIDS Mauritius 2005

The Mauritius Post released on 10 January 2005 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark the United Nations International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States held in Mauritius from 10-14 January 2005.



Since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and islands supporting small communities have been considered 'a special case both for environment and development.' The first Global Conference on Sustainable Development of SIDS in Barbados in 1994 adopted the Barbados Programme of Action (BPoA). This has been an important blueprint for the sustainable development of SIDS recognising the uniqueness of small islands, their vulnerability and specificity.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 further reasserted the special challenges of SIDS and the relevance of the 'special needs' was again stressed in the Millenium Development Goals. One of the recommendations of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation was that a 'full and comprehensive review of the implementation of the BPoA for the sustainable development of SIDS takes place in 2004.

All SIDS are characterised by inescapable limitations: small domestic markets, isolation, narrow resource base and dependence on external trade. Mauritius has overcome many of these obstacles, but the advantages on which it has built its economic and social progress now constitute threats to its future prosperity. Its development has affected the natural environmental resources on which its future depends.

N.B.: The above text is from the SCC insert.

Milestones for meetings on sustainable development relevant to SIDS:

The SIDS Network (SIDSnet) website:

Technical Details:


Release date: 10 January 2005
Stamps:
 Re1 - Red Coral Cod/ Vielle (Cephalopholis sonnerati)

 Rs4 - Blue Mauritius Angelfish/ Ange (Centropyge debelius)

 Rs5 - Mauritian Anemonefish/ Débouetteur (Amphiprion chrysogaster)

 From the 'Fishes of Mauritius' definitive issue of 9 October 2000.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Centenary of the Faculty of Agriculture (1914-2014)

The Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Mauritius in collaboration with the Mauritius Post released on 13 October 2014 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark its centenary.



Founded in 1914, the Faculty was then known as the 'School of Agriculture'.

In 1925, the School was renamed 'College of Agriculture' until 1968 when the name of the College changed back to 'School of Agriculture'.



In 1993, the last change in name occurred when the School of Agriculture became the 'Faculty of Agriculture'.

The Faculty is located on the campus of the University of Mauritius in Réduit.

The website of the Faculty of Agriculture: http://www.uom.ac.mu/FOA/


Technical Details

Release date: 13 October 2014
Stamp: Rs10 - The Richly-Blooming Oeoniella (Oeoniella polystachys)
            From the 'Fauna and Flora' issue of 30 August 2013.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

175th & 180th Anniversaries of the Royal Society of Arts & Sciences of Mauritius

The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius in collaboration with the Mauritius Post released two Special Commemorative Covers (SCC) on 24 August 2004 and 11 October 2014 to mark their 175th and 180th anniversaries respectively.





In August 1829, Charles Telfair and Julien Desjardins (their portraits are represented on the 175th anniversary SCC) founded the 'Société d'Histoire Naturelle' (Natural History Society), later the "Arts and Sciences Society of Mauritius" which was to become a forum where all inhabitants of Mauritius interested in arts and sciences could express themselves.

It was the first learned society to be formed in this part of the world and soon attracted the intelligentsia from the island. In 1847, Queen Victoria gave her assent to add the word "Royal" to the name of the society in recognition for its work known since then as "The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences of Mauritius".

Thus, many of the prestigious scientific men and lovers of arts in this country have honoured the Society by joining as members, and have contributed to its advancement and to that of the country. The list of these benefactors is inscribed on the Liénard obelisk at Pamplemousses Garden, to acknowledge their contribution to the advancement of sciences, arts and the conservation of our environmental heritage.

During the 19th century, the Society played an important role in the development of the country. It was instrumental in the creation of the Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture, the Agronomic Research Station, the Herbaeum and the Mauritius Institute. Its participation in international exhibitions has also contributed to the fame of Mauritian sugars. National exhibitions were also organised to promote arts, agriculture and innovations.

The tenacity of the members has helped to convince the nation of the importance of ecological preservation of our island. For instance, as early as the 19th century, the Society persuaded the international scientific community to back its efforts to induce the Mauritian government to start the captive farming of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) in Mauritius and the Seychelles (the Seychelles were still administered by Mauritius at that time) to preserve it from extinction.



The society was also active in the first efforts to preserve the fauna and flora of Round Island. In the 20th century, with the help of the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute (MSIRI), it was able to establish the Mondrain, the first private nature reserve of the country and undertake an ecological restoration programme recognised worldwide.

All the work of the Society's members have been published, since 1829 in Transactions, and now in the Proceedings which present a wide range of scientific and artistic articles of utmost importance for our country. The Society inherited 20,000 manuscripts which the late Leon Doyen was hoping to use for his History of Mauritius. A soft copy of those documents has been published recently, on sale at Rs300.

The archives of the Society contain paintings, correspondence, some books and scientific reports, a number of which dating since the end of the 18th century. For conservation purposes, they are kept at the Blue Penny Museum.

The Society was first housed at the Royal College, Port Louis, then as from the 1880's at the Mauritius Institute, still in Port Louis. In 1958, it moved to the MSIRI, Réduit which is today under the aegis of the Mauritius Cane Industry Authority.



Over time, the objectives of the Society have remained the same, and if the members through the generations have changed, the enthusiasm for the preservation of our ecology and appreciation of art is just as great. Regular conferences and outings to raise awareness on conservation and art are regularly organised.

N.B.: The above text is adapted from the 180th anniversary SCC insert.

Technical Details:


175th Anniversary SCC
Release date: 24 August 2004
Stamp:
  Re1 - Trochetia boutoniana (Boucle d'Oreille), the national flower of Mauritius since 1992.
  From the 'Trochetias' issue of 18 June 2003,

This SCC was hand stamped at Moka Post Office.

180th Anniversary SCC
Release date: 11 October 2014
Stamps:
 - Rs9 - Bel Ombre mansion (Charles Telfair owned and worked on this sugar estate)
   From the 'Site & Monuments' issue of 18 April 2013.

 - Rs14 - Rodrigues Fruit Bat (a.k.a. Golden Fruit Bat, Roussette de Rodrigues, Pteropus rodricensis)
   From the 'Fauna & Flora' issue of 28 March 2014.

 - Rs3 - Hurricane Palm (Hyophorbe amauricalis, only one surviving specimen is known, in Curepipe Botanic Garden)
   From the 'Fauna & Flora' issue of 30 August 2013.

The coloured lithograph on the SCC comes from 'La Description de l'Univers' (The Description of the Universe) by Allain Manesson and published in 1683. It represents the first activities on Mauritius by the Dutch in 1598 and the native flora and fauna on the island at the time.

This SCC was hand stamped at Baie du Cap Post Office and officially launched on 11 October during a reception held at the Place du Moulin in the Bel Ombre mansion. The guest star was Dr. Julian Hume from the National Museum, London. Dr. Hume participated in the excavations works in Mare aux Songes to find remains of the Dodo (Raphus cucullatus). Some of his paintings were also reproduced on the 'Extinct Mauritian Giant Tortoises' issue of 16 July 2009 (four stamps and one miniature sheet).

Monday, August 17, 2015

25th Anniversary of the Maritime Air Squadron (1990-2015)

The Maritime Air Squadron (MAS) in collaboration with the Mauritius Post released on 17 July 2015 a Special Commemorative Cover to mark their 25th anniversary.



The MAS is the air wing of the National Coast Guard (NCG - the maritime wing of the Mauritius Police Force). In keeping up with the strategic objectives set by the NCG Headquarters, the Dornier and the Defender aircrafts have accomplished all assigned missions with flying colours in the past twenty five years. The Silver Jubilee also marks twenty-five years of accident-free flying for the squadron.



This success of the squadron amply demonstrates the unflinching commitment and dedication of Team MAS in keeping the aircrafts airworthy and ready for all operations, in every manner and at all times. The MAS is committed to assisting the National Coast Guard to provide maritime safety and security to the nation 24/7 and 365 days a year, living up to the motto: 'Vigilare et Protegere' (Latin for 'Guard and Protect)

The crest of the MAS represents the endemic Mauritius kestrel (Falco punctatus) with a map of Mauritius in the background and their motto in the bottom portion.

Role of the MAS:


1. Surveillance cover over the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Mauritius
2. Coastal surveillance
3. Anti-piracy patrol
4. Support for outer islands of Mauritius, namely: Agaléga, Rodrigues and Saint     Brandon, including casualty evacuation.
5. SAR operations
6. Pollution control
7. Air-drop of stores
8. Para-drop activities
9. Joint patrol with friendly nations such as France (Réunion), Madagascar and India

Mission Statement:


Surveillance & law enforcement: to enforce maritime laws of Mauritius by airborne surveillabce of coastal waters and the EEZ.

Anti-piracy: act as deterrence for pirates in the Mauritian EEZ.

Search & rescue: to protect life and property at sea.

Humanitarian assistance: to provide humanitarian assistance to citizens living in the outer islands of Mauritius by carrying out casualty evacuations and logistics support.

Pollution response: to respond to maritime pollution within the EEZ.

Operational environment: to maintain high order of flight safety at the squadron.



History:


- The MAS was commissioned on 17 July 1990 by Sir Veerasamy Ringadoo, the then Governor General of Mauritius.

- The first aircraft of the MAS, a Dornier-228, was acquired in 1990 from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., India.

- The squadron acquired a second aircraft, Defender (BN-2T), from Britten Norman, UK in 1992.

- In 2004, the squadron acquired a second Dornier-228 aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., India. The MAS currently operates only those three fixed-wing aircrafts.

- In 2008, the MAS received the ISO 9001:2008 accreditation from the Mauritius Standards Bureau.

Dornier-228

Speed: 180 kts
Endurance: 6 hours
Range: 700 nm
Crew: 2 pilots and 1 observer

Defender (BN-2T)

Speed: 115 kts
Endurance: 4.5 hours
Range: 450 nm
Crew: 2 pilots and 1 observer

N.B.: The above text is adapted from the insert.

This Special Commemorative Cover was a private issue.

Technical details:


Release date: 17 July 2015
Stamp: Rs7 - Dragonfly 
            From the 'Fauna & Flora' issue of 28 March 2014
Courtesy: National Coast Guard Headquarters, Les Salines, Port Louis
          Maritime Air Squadron, New Police Hangar, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Plaisance

MAS Contact details:


Telephone No.: (+230) 637 3003, (+230) 637 3040, (+230) 637 3379
Fax No.: (+230) 637 3905
Email: ccnmas.mpf@govmu.org

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Green Turtle Omnibus Issue

La Poste, the Mauritius Post, La Poste Comores, the Seychelles Postal Services, Paositra Malagasy and the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF) jointly issued on 9 October 2014 an omnibus stamp on the Green Turtle. It is the first ever joint issue between countries of the south west Indian Ocean and was branded as a France - Indian Ocean joint issue.



The green turtle (Chelonia mydas, Tortue verte or Tortue franche in French) is found in the tropical marine waters of the south west Indian Ocean which shelter important nesting and feeding sites for this protected species.

The green turtle is a great migrant that can weigh over two hundred kilograms and measure over a metre long. Fully grown, it is essentially herbivorous and reproduces on the beaches of tropical islands of the Indian Ocean as well as on Malagasy shores and on East African coasts.

The green turtle is undergoing several study and conservation programmes in the countries of the region.

The Mauritian FDC


'Marine turtles of the Indian Ocean: a common heritage to protect.'



The six stamps were officially launched at the head office of the TAAF in Saint-Leu, Réunion, where the 6e Rencontres Philatéliques de l'Océan Indien (6th Indian Ocean Philatelic Meetings, 9-11 October 2014) were being held.

Unofficial FDC hand stamped at the Philatelic Bureau, Port Louis
and featuring the World Post Day 2014 Special Cachet.


The Indian Ocean Philatelic Meetings, RPOI, are organised by the Association Philatélique de l'Océan Indien, APOI (Indian Ocean Philatelic Association, based in Réunion, founded in 1958) and held on a almost-yearly basis.

Alternative links in French to blogs of the APOI:
- http://philateliereunion.blogspot.com/ (last updated in June 2011)

Mauritius last hosted the RPOI, the 4th, in 2012 (6-9 September, Cybercity Tower 1, Ebène), in the context of the 240 years of postal services in Mauritius.

Note that Réunion actually represents France
and that the French stamp was released in mainland France too.














In Mauritius the official launching was done at the new Trianon Post Office.


Technical details:

Release date: 9 October 2014
Stamp denomination, country and print run: 
 0,98 € - France - 1,000,000
 1500 Ar - Madagascar - 100,000 
 150 Kmf - Comoros - 11,000
 R 50 - Seychelles - 100,000
 1,05 € - TAAF - 1,000
 Rs14 - Mauritius - missing figure
(Source for print runs: http://apoi.over-blog.com/actions-realisees.html)
Designer: Claude Perchat
Size:  40.85 x 30 mm
Printer: Phil@poste, France
Process: Offset
Number per sheet: 42 stamps
Stamp sheet format: 240 x 286 mm
Watermark: None

The presentation pack, issued by La Poste:


Illustrations by A. d'Aunay
Graphic conception by S. Ghinéa











The stamps on covers:


From France:

Special thanks to Eric for sending me this very nice cover from the 68e Salon Philatélique d'Automne (68th Autumn Philatelic Exhibition, Paris, 6-9 November 2014) and signed by Claude Perchat, the designer of these stamps.



From Tromelin, TAAF:

This cover too is from Eric. Besides being a nesting site for green turtles and boobies, the island of Tromelin is also an occasional amateur radio station. 2014 marked 60 years since the first amateur radio signal was sent from there; more information about the miniature sheet affixed on this cover and cancelled on the first day of issue (6 November 2014) on Eric's always-interesting blog: http://timbredujura.blogspot.com/2015/02/60-years-of-amateur-radio-liaisons-from.html

Illustrated link to the Tromelin 2014 FT4TA Expedition: http://www.tromelin2014.com/en/


Special cachet hand stamped at the back of the cover
depicting from left to right a booby, Tromelin and a marine turtle.

A vaguemestre in French is a military in charge of the delivery of mail.

From Mauritius:

The following cover was sent from Port Louis Centre Post Office on 16 October 2014.



The Green Turtle on Coat of Arms


British Indian Ocean Territory

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_the_British_Indian_Ocean_Territory