The Dogs that Saved Macquarie Island

Release date: 9 September 2015

The World Heritage–listed Macquarie Island has significant biodiversity and is one of the few breeding locations for fauna in the Southern Ocean sector of the Pacific. But introduced non-native species have impacted seriously on its natural flora and fauna. In an effort to address this, Macquarie has been the focus of two intensive pest eradication program in recent years: the first, to rid the island of cats, and, more recently, to rid it of rabbits, ship rats and mice.

Dogs have played a vital role in these campaigns. In December 2002, two dogs and several handlers ensured that all cats had been eradicated from the island, after scouring it for any last sign. Similarly, after an aerial baiting program in 2011, 12 rabbit detector dogs, including springer spaniels, labradors and one terrier-cross, covered more than 90,000 kilometres in their search for any sign of surviving rabbits.

The sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island is a harsh environment for both humans and their canine companions. The dogs were highly trained to ensure they would not be distracted by native animals, such as penguins or seals. They were chosen for their tolerance to the cold, wet climate and for their superior work ethic. Three rodent detection dogs (terriers) and their two handlers joined the search in 2013, and in 2014, the eradication program was declared a success.

The World Heritage–listed Macquarie Island has thus entered a bright new era, free of the devastating impacts of pests for the first time in more than 100 years.

The Stamps

70c Springer spaniel and penguins
Photograph: Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service

70c Labrador and handler
Photograph: Stephen Horn, courtesy Australian Antarctic Division

$1.40 Two dogs and handler
Photograph: courtesy Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service

70c Two dogs and handler in snow
Photograph: Stephen Horn, courtesy Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service

Technical details

  • Issue date

    9 September 2015
  • FDI withdrawal

    7 October 2015
  • Denomination

    <p>2 x 70c, 2 x $1.40 se-tenant pairs</p>
  • Stamp design

    Simone Sakinofsky, Australia Post Design Studio
  • Product design

    <p>Simone Sakinofsky, Australia Post Design Studio</p>
  • Printer

    RA Print
  • Paper - gummed

    Tullis Russell
  • Printing process

    Lithography
  • Stamp size

    37.5mm x 26mm
  • Minisheet size

    170mm x 80mm
  • Perforations

    13.86 x 14.6
  • Sheet layout

    Module of 50
  • National postmark

    Kingston, Tas 7050
  • Issue withdrawal date

    31 March 2016

Designer

Simone Sakinofsky became a member of the Australia Post Design Studio in late 2005. Her stamp issue and product designs include Australian Legends of the Written Word (2010), Medical Doctors: A Lasting Legacy (2012), Underwater World (2012) and Australian Zoos (2012), the Royal Visit (2014) and Open Gardens Australia (2014).

Additional Products

  • Stamp (2 x 70c, 2 x $1.40)
  • Minisheet
  • Cover (blank)
  • First day cover (gummed)
  • First day cover (minisheet)
  • Stamp pack
  • Maxicard (4)
  • Gutter (10 x 70c)
  • Gutter (10 x $1.40)

*This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.