A severely overgrown sheep breaks world record after having nearly 89 pounds of fleece trimmed from its body in a potentially life-saving surgery this week. The sheep named “Chris” a bushwalker who spotted it just outside Australia’s capital of Canberra, could barely walk when it was found. Animal welfare experts feared he would not make it through the summer.
Shearer Ian Elkins volunteered to shear the mammoth creature, which had to be sedated throughout the operation, after being contacted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Australia.
“I’ve been shearing for 35 years, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Many times we’ll shear a sheep and get five kilos (11 pounds) but it was seven years since this sheep was actually shorn. It was quite a challenge,” Elkins told CNN.
“The fleece has no commercial value, but hopefully it’ll end up in a museum somewhere. It’ll be a long time until this record is broken,” he added.
The RSPCA said sheep like Chris, a Merino that are bred especially for their wool, need to be shorn regularly or they can have trouble going to the bathroom and can develop serious medical issues like flystrike or infection.
The sheep will be checked by vets, but the good news is that Chris came through the process relatively well and there was no evidence of flystrike.
Chris was feeling fine after his makeover, RSPCA ACT boss Tammy Ven Dange said. “He’s gone from a very shy sheep to one that wants cuddles now.”