Lost sheep out on a limb

2011-04-23 00:00

HARRISMITH — A local farmer’s hand-reared ewe had been missing for 23 days before she was discovered on a tree stump in the Wilge River.

Hanli Badenhorst said that when one of her sheep disappeared from her farm, Sunnyview, she assumed it had been stolen by stock thieves. Last year 46 sheep were stolen off the farm, although this particular ewe is a “hanslam” (hand-reared).

“We searched for it every day for 23 days,” Badenhorst said.

Farm worker Emmanuel Nyama found the “stolen” sheep on a tree stump in the Wilge River — very much alive and unhurt, albeit trembling and ravenous.

The ewe is thought to have scrambled on to the log to escape dogs, and survived the 23-day ordeal by eating branches.

Local farmer Barry Hattingh, a good friend of Nyama’s and Badenhorst’s, braved the river’s cold water to rescue the ewe. She was eventually brought to safety with ropes. “I didn’t know sheep could climb trees. Shame, the poor little ewe was trembling all over. And believe me, she was hungry,” Badenhorst said.

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