Sheep in Australia shorn of world-record 42kg wool fleece

2015-09-03 08:07
The wild, castrated merino ram named Chris, yielded 40kg of wool, the equivalent of 30 sweaters, and shed almost half his body weight. (RSPCA ACT/ via AP)

The wild, castrated merino ram named Chris, yielded 40kg of wool, the equivalent of 30 sweaters, and shed almost half his body weight. (RSPCA ACT/ via AP)

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Sydney (dpa) - A sheep in Australia was shorn of a world-record 42.3kg of wool on Thursday, news reports said.

The stray merino sheep could barely walk because of the heavy fleece, which probably took at least five years to grow. The animal was found in bushland near Canberra on Wednesday, ABC Radio reported.

A five-person team from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) rescued the sheep and appealed for a shearer to remove the fleece, which was up to 47cm thick.

Champion shearer Ian Elkins volunteered and took about 45 minutes to finish the task on Thursday, removing the fleece in one piece.

"I don't think he's been shorn before, and I think he's five or six years old," Elkins told ABC Radio.

"I wouldn't say it is high quality, but you wouldn't expect it to be after so long in the bush."

The sheep, nicknamed Chris by the RSPCA after the person who found it, was sedated before the shearing to make it more comfortable.

The sheep will be put up for adoption after health checks, RSPCA spokesperson Jane Gregor told ABC.

Chris's mammoth fleece smashes the previous world record of 27kg of unshorn wool taken from a New Zealand sheep called Shrek, which lived in the wild for six years.

The average merino sheep fleece removed annually weighs about five kilograms and takes three minutes to shear.

Read more on:    australia  |  animals

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