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Australia: Lost overgrown sheep yields 42 kgs of wool, sets new record

An overgrown sheep found lost in Australian scrubland was shorn for perhaps the first time on Thursday.

By: AP |
Updated: September 3, 2015 9:07:34 am
The Australian sheep was found by residents of Canberra and rescued by the RSPCA. (Source: Tammy Ven Dange Twitter account) The Australian sheep was found by residents of Canberra and rescued by the RSPCA. (Source: Tammy Ven Dange Twitter account)

An overgrown sheep found lost in Australian scrubland was shorn for perhaps the first time on Thursday, yielding 42 kilograms (93 pounds) of wool, the shearer said.

The woolly coat dwarfs that of New Zealand’s hermit ram dubbed Shrek who took six years to grow his massive fleece that weighed 27 kilograms (60.5 pounds) when it was clipped in 2004. Shrek was often described as a record.

Champion shearer Ian Elkins said the bulky Australian merino sheep, dubbed Chris, appeared to be in good condition after being separated from his huge fleece under anesthetic.

Australia sheep, Overshorn sheep, Sheep, Lost sheep, Chris the sheep, Australia sheep sheared, RSPCA, Overgrown sheep, Sheep sheared, Social media Chris, the sheep, just before the shearing session. (Source: Tammy Ven Dange Twitter account)

“We’ve smashed Shrek’s record of 27 kilos, no dramas,” Elkins told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“I don’t reckon he’s been shorn before and I reckon he’d be five or six years old,” he said.

Australia sheep, Overshorn sheep, Sheep, Lost sheep, Chris the sheep, Australia sheep sheared, RSPCA, Overgrown sheep, Sheep sheared, Social media (Source: Tammy Ven Dange Twitter account)

Chris was found near Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary outside Canberra by bushwalkers who feared he would not survive the approaching southern summer. He was found several kilometers (miles) from the nearest sheep farm. A bushwalker named him Chris after the sheep in the “Father Ted” television comedy series.

Australia sheep, Overshorn sheep, Sheep, Lost sheep, Chris the sheep, Australia sheep sheared, RSPCA, Overgrown sheep, Sheep sheared, Social media The shearing prcoess. (Source: Tammy Ven Dange Twitter account)

The castrated ram was rescued by the RSPCA and taken to Canberra where he was shorn under anesthetic because of he was stressed by human company and because of the potential pain from the heavy fleece tearing skin as it fell away.

Tammy Ven Dange, the Canberra RSPCA chief executive, said Chris would be found a new home after vets gave him an all-clear.

Elkins said the fleece had suffered from the harsh woodland environment. “I wouldn’t say its high quality, but you wouldn’t expect it to be running around in the bush that long unshorn,” he said. Australian merinos are breed for wool and are shorn annually, with fleeces averaging about 5 kilograms (11 pounds).

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