Soay sheep have lived on the island of Hirta on the western coast of Scotland for a millennium. As a breed of cheep they’re smaller than the average sheep however research from the Imperial College in London suggests they’re getting smaller.
Very often natural selection favours larger sheep. The odds of the survival go up as the body size increases as the extra reserves of fat allow the sheep to survive through the winter.
In Hirta, however, climate change has been making winters shorter and milder. This is allowing generation after generation of sheep to spend more time grazing and less time dependant on the fat reserves.
In the past only the larger lambs would survive; having reached the size necessary to survive the winter. These days even the smaller lambs will survive the winter.
In Pure Spirit
What do you think? Is this a shame or could this be a positive effect of global warming?