Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (September 16-22)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology  

By DTE Staff
Published: Sunday 22 September 2019
A soay sheep. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Link between age and immunity decline found in Soay sheep

Researchers have found a link between aging and declining immunity in wild animals for the first time, according to a media report.

Scottish researchers from the University of Edinburgh analysed more than 2,000 samples taken from 800 Soay sheep, a wild species found on the St. Kilda archipelago near Scotland. They found that antibodies which protected the animals from parasities, declined with age.

The finding is important since till now, decline in immunity levels due to aging has been recorded only among humans. The study authors said their findings could also help to understand worm infections in older individuals.

They also said it could help understand the consequences of farming older animals for meat.

29 per cent decline in North American avifauna since 1970: Study

There has been a decline of 29 per cent or nearly 3 million birds in the United States and Canada since 1970, according to a new study.

While decline has been seen in birds of all habitats, most of it has been among birds of 12 families, a media report said. Grassland birds lost 53 per cent of their number or 720 million birds since 1970. One-third of shorebirds have been lost. Some of the species particularly hard-hit include sparrows, warblers, finshes and swallows.

The study noted that the decline has been mostly in part due to due to agricultural intensification and urbanisation.

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