Giant Australian sheep baa-dly in need of shearing

2015-09-02 14:35

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australian animal welfare officers on Wednesday put out an urgent appeal for shearers after finding a huge sheep with wool so overgrown its life was in danger, with a national champion set to take on the challenge.

The very woolly merino sheep was spotted wandering on its own near Mulligan Flats, a grassy woodland just outside the national capital Canberra, by bushwalkers who alerted local RSPCA officers.

The officers headed out to the area, but had to return on Wednesday morning with reinforcements after noting the creature's size.

"It's definitely one of the biggest sheep we've ever seen," said Tammy Ven Dange, head of the RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory, adding that the as-yet-unnamed animal was "four to five times its normal size".

The extent of the wool growth and the sheep's nervousness around human beings after what was likely years of solitude also meant rescuers were not yet able to confirm its gender, age and weight, although they thought it was male.

Biggest challenge

"He's pretty stressed out at the moment. We're trying to keep him calm and hopefully tomorrow [Thursday] we're going to sedate him and shear him," Ven Dange told AFP.

"Hopefully he doesn't go into shock during that process."

Merino sheep are bred for their sought-after wool and can experience health issues, or even die, if not sheared regularly, Ven Dange said, explaining why she tweeted her call for help.

Ian Elkins, a national champion inducted into the Australian Shearers' Hall of Fame, responded to the appeal and said removing the fleece "could be one of my biggest challenges yet", with the process expected to take between one and two hours.

"They sent through a photo and I've never seen such wool on a sheep before," Elkins told AFP, noting that on average, a sheep would grow 7cm of wool each year.

The animal's voluminous fleece could rival New Zealand's most famous sheep, Shrek, which was found in 2004 following six years on the loose after going missing from its herd in 1998.

Shrek, also a merino, was found in a mountain cave and was shorn of nearly 27kg of fleece in an operation broadcast live around the world. It was put down in 2011 aged 16 due to failing health.

Read more on:    australia  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.