Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Service to be held as New Zealand mourns Shrek the sheep

A service will be held for New Zealand’s oldest and most famous sheep that has passed on at the age of almost 17.

In 2004 Shrek, the merino wether, shot to international fame when he was found hiding in a cave on Bendigo Station, having gone six years without being shorn. The remainder of Shrek’s life was devoted to charity. As the face of Cure Kids, he raised more than $150,000 for medical research.

In a country where sheep outnumber people by nearly 10 to one, Shrek's renegade story inspired three books. He also met former Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Chilean president. In the last few months his circulation has been failing, and the 16 year old wether was put down, owner John Perriam said.

A service for Shrek will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd at Tekapo, and his ashes will be scattered on Bendigo Station and Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.

There's a news video here.


SteveC said...

I'm curious. Back in time when this was a still a wild breed and man didn't herd and shorn them, did they all look like the 'before picture' of Shrek? How did they function?
Or could these wool creating breeds be relatively new and created through breeding by man specifically for their wool?

arbroath said...

I'm not sure, Steve.

I heard Shrek's owner interviewed on the radio late last night and he was saying that when Shrek was originally found, his fleece had grown totally over his eyes and he was 'wool blind'.

So I don't know how they survived in the wild, unless as you say, recent breeds have been bred to provide more wool.