Australian sheep is unofficially the world's woolliest: 40kg of wool sheared

Chris the sheep before it was shorn in Canberra on Sept 3.
Chris the sheep before it was shorn in Canberra on Sept 3. PHOTO: EPA
Australian champion shearer Ian Elkins posing with the record-breaking fleece from Chris the sheep, in Canberra on Sept 3.
Australian champion shearer Ian Elkins posing with the record-breaking fleece from Chris the sheep, in Canberra on Sept 3.PHOTO: EPA
Chris the sheep after it was shorn in Canberra on Sept 3.
Chris the sheep after it was shorn in Canberra on Sept 3.PHOTO: EPA

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Around 40 kg of wool has been sheared from a sheep found near Australia's capital, an animal charity said on Thursday, making him unofficially the world's woolliest.

The animal, named Chris by his rescuers, was discovered on the northern outskirts of Canberra on Wednesday and was said to be struggling to walk under the weight of his coat.

Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of RSPCA ACT, the Canberra division of the animal charity, estimated that Chris had more than five years of wool on him and likely little contact with humans.

The 40.2 kg of wool removed from Chris means that he was unofficially the carrier of the world's heaviest fleece, possibly shattering the current record set by New Zealand sheep Big Ben, found to be carrying nearly 29 kg of wool in 2014.

Big Ben dethroned fellow Kiwi, Shrek, who gained national celebrity in his home nation, meeting then Prime Minister Helen Clark and becoming the subject of several children's books before his death in 2011.