Friday 26 December 2014

'World's woolliest' sheep finally faces shearers after six years on the run

The Merino ram has 20kg of fleece and can barely see for wool over his eyes

Lizzie Deardon

Published 25/08/2014 | 14:12

Two farmers in Tasmania believe they have found the world’s woolliest sheep.

The animal, named Shaun after the Wallace and Gromit character, has never had his incredible coat cut and appears to have travelled more than 25 miles from the Australian island’s east coast on the run from shearers at his former farm.

Peter Hazel told Australia’s ABC News he found the sheep wandering in scrubland on Sunday.

Fortunately, the ram was easy to catch as his 20kg of extra fleece is weighing him down and the wool has fallen over his eyes.

“It is the heaviest sheep I've ever lifted,” his wife Netty Hazell said.

The couple said it lucky the six-year-old Merino ram survived in the wild without getting heat stroke or myiasis from fly larvae.

A 'before' photo of the world famous sheep 'Shrek'

Shaun is carrying a coat roughly half-a-metre thick and is being clipped this week to see if he can break the world record for fleece yield.

“There's three or four good jumpers in there,” Mrs Hazell told ABC.

The record is currently held by a New Zealand sheep called “Shrek”, who produced 27kg of wool when clipped in 2004 and set off on a nationwide tour that included meeting the Prime Minister.

Merino wool is prized for being among the finest and softest of any sheep and is widely used in clothing.

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