Unsheared Sheep So Wooly He Nearly Died

Overgrown Aussie sheep wouldn't have survived summer
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2015 1:03 AM CDT
Sheep-Shearing Champ Meets Biggest Challenge
In this photo provided by the RSPCA/Australian Capital Territory, a sheep found in Australian scrubland stands in a pen after it was shorn in Canberra today.   (RSPCA/ACT via AP)

It was the most massively overgrown sheep anybody had ever seen—and the biggest challenge of Ian Elkins' career. When animal authorities in Canberra found and rescued the wandering sheep, they called for help and the four-time Australian Shearing Championship winner answered, the Guardian reports. Elkins says he sheared a record 93 pounds of wool from the sheep, which has been named "Chris," and he believes it is around six years old and has never been shorn before. In Australia, summer is approaching and authorities believe that Chris, a Merino sheep bred for wool, wouldn't have survived under the weight of so much wool he could barely walk.

The chief of the local RSPCA tells the Daily Telegraph that Chris, who was found living wild miles from the nearest sheep farm, is like a "new man" after the record-setting shear and they have had plenty of calls from people who want to adopt him. "Yesterday when he came in he was shy and shaky but today he is walking up to be patted, he looks so much better," she says. Elkins, who was already in the Australian Shearer's Hall of Fame, tells the Telegraph that he usually shears a sheep in three minutes but Chris took 43. "I have never done anything like this before and will go home tonight for a well deserved beer," he says. (Read more sheep stories.)

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