22nd January 2021

Two of Britain’s rarest bats feature in a new series of commemorative stamp First Day Covers released in January 2021, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Britain’s first National Parks being established.

All of Britain’s 18 resident bat species have been recorded in the 15 National Parks of England, Wales and Scotland.

One First Day Cover design features the Kuhl’s pipistrelle bat, which is only known as a rare migrant visitor to our shores. However, during 2020, a pregnant female and two juvenile bats were discovered in England, suggesting for the first time that this species may now be breeding in the UK.

The second decorative envelope features the greater mouse eared bat. This species is Britain’s rarest mammal, resident in southern England, with small colonies having been found near the south coast. In recent years though, numbers have dwindled to only one known remaining male, who is at least 18 years old. He was last seen in 2019, before bat roost monitoring efforts were paused due to lockdown. It is not yet clear whether he is still present.

Britain’s rarest bats feature on new stamp collectibles

A First Day Cover booklet is signed by TV presenter Chris Packham CBE, who is BCT’s President. The greater mouse eared bat cover has been signed by David Gower OBE, a former England cricket team captain and BCT Patron. The Kuhl’s pipistrelle First Day Cover is also available signed by the folk singer Kate Rusby, Ambassador for the Bat Conservation Trust.

Kit Stoner, the Bat Conservation Trust chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Buckhingham Covers has chosen to support us. This year, our charity will be celebrating its 30th anniversary, so it is wonderful to see 2021 getting underway with two of Britain’s rarest bats being showcased like this.”

Jake Harvey, marketing manager for Buckhingham Covers, which produced the stamps, said: “One particular animal conservation charity that struggled more than most last year, was the Bat Conservation Trust. The rumours around the Covid-19 virus in China and its links to bats saw the charity suffer, completely unjustifiably.

“Bats play an important role in many environments. Some plants depend partly or wholly on bats to pollinate their flowers or spread their seeds, while other bats also help control pests by eating insects. We hope that we can support the BCT, their work, their message and help to spread a more positive light on these wonderful mammals.”

These limited edition First Day Covers are available from Buckhingham Covers with 30% of the purchase price being donated to the Bat Conservation Trust on this link: https://www.buckinghamcovers.com/bct

What’s a First Day Cover?

Cover refers to the envelope. Hundreds of years ago people would fold up their letters to send them. Today, we pop our letters into envelopes (much safer!). First Day relates to the date the stamp has been issued, for example the new National Parks stamps were released on 14th January 2021. Nowadays, the cover is more than just a wrapper. Buckingham Covers produces these highly decorative and collectable envelopes as miniature works of art.