The Save Manatees stamp is being issued to create awareness about the threats posed to this beloved marine mammal. Human vigilance is crucial for the protection of the threatened West Indian manatee—both to minimize motorboat strikes and to maintain the aquatic plants on which it feeds.
The gentle West Indian manatee inhabits warm inland waterways in Florida and warm areas of the coastal Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. The Florida manatee, present year-round in the state’s rivers and springs, is one of two subspecies of West Indian manatee.
The stamp’s stylized artwork, predominantly aqua-colored, shows a manatee underwater, placidly lolling near the surface.
These slow-swimming marine mammals hungrily feed on shallow-water aquatic plants, eating up to 10 percent of their body weight each day. An adult West Indian manatee typically weighs about 1,000 to 1,500 pounds and is about eight to 11 feet long. Its prehensile lips and its sensitive, flexible whiskers help the manatee guide its leafy meals to its mouth. The manatee’s busy feeding schedule is interrupted by frequent underwater naps, during which the animal surfaces to breathe every 10 minutes or so—more often when actively swimming. Florida manatees thrive in water of 68°F or warmer. Their summer range reaches the coastal Carolinas—farther north on occasion.
Manatees have no natural predators but are slow to reproduce. A female manatee gives birth to one offspring at a time, nursing for several months before the calf starts eating plants. A mother may tend to her young for up to about two years, communicating with touches, nuzzling “kisses” and sounds including chirps, squeaks, and squeals.
West Indian Manatee populations have rebounded from lows of only several hundred individuals in the 1970s. In 2017, its status under the Endangered Species Act was upgraded from endangered to threatened. Although thousands of West Indian Manatees exist today, surging numbers of die-offs have recently raised alarm.
Toxic algae blooms, worsened by pollution, kill seagrass. In recent years, this loss of manatees’ primary food resources has led to starvation. Collisions with fast-moving watercraft can also prove fatal; almost all grown manatees bear scars from boat propellers.
This docile creature benefits from watercraft speed limits, refuge areas, and heightened awareness of manatee vulnerability. To help protect Florida’s official marine mammal, many residents purchase “Save the Manatee” license plates, raising funds for conservation and increasing awareness.
Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps with original digital art by Nancy Stahl.
The Save Manatees stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.
First Day of Issue Ceremony
First Day of Issue Date: March 27, 2024
First Day of Issue Location: Silver Springs, FL
Stamp Art Director
For more than 30 years Derry Noyes has designed and provided art direction for dozens of United States postage stamps and stamp products. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Hampshire College and a master of fine arts degree from Yale University. She worked as a graphics designer at Beveridge and Associates, a Washington, D.C., firm, until 1979 when she established her own design firm, Derry Noyes Graphics. Her clients have included museums, corporations, foundations, and architectural and educational institutions. Her work has been honored by the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, Communication Arts, Critique magazine, and Graphis. Before becoming an art director for the United States Postal Service, she served as a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee from 1981-1983. Noyes is a resident of Washington, D.C.
A native of Long Island, New York, Nancy Stahl studied art at the University of Arizona, the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her career can be split nearly equally between traditional media and digitally created art. Originally working in graphite, she experimented with a variety of media before making gouache paintings her signature style. She learned to work digitally starting in 1989 and abandoned her paints a few years later. Stahl’s clients have ranged from newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine, and Der Spiegel to corporate identity, packaging and billboards for companies such as The Disney Family Museum, Sharffen Berger chocolates, and Stonyfield Farms. Her love of craft has allowed Stahl to accept assignments as varied as creating lace for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and knitting Christmas stamp designs in 2005 for the US Postal Service®. Her work is represented in The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 by Walt Reed and Rolling Stone: The Illustrated Portraits edited by Fred Woodward. An instructor in the Independent Study Masters Degree program at Syracuse University, Stahl has also taught illustration at the School of Visual Arts and the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 2012, She was elected to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. Stahl works from her studio in New York City where in her leisure time she pursues her hobby of computerized knitting.
She has designed more than 40 stamps for the U.S. Postal Service including the New York Public Library Lion (2000), three stamps for the Stars and Stripes issuance (2015), 19th Amendment: Women Vote (2020), and Women's Rowing (2022). Stahl is especially well known for her highly stylized animal stamps, including Bighorn Sheep (2007); the Save Vanishing Species semipostal (2011, reissue 2014), featuring a portrait of an Amur tiger cub; Penguins (2015); Frogs (2019); and Save Manatees (2024).