Baarack from the brink: Wild sheep rescued in Australia shorn of 35kg fleece

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SYDNEY (REUTERS) - A wild and ailing sheep found in a forest in Australia, named Baarack by rescuers, has yielded a fleece weighing more than 35kg - nearly half the weight of an adult kangaroo - after being shorn for the first time in many a year.

The sheep was found by a member of the public who contacted the Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary near Lancefield, Victoria, about 60km north of Melbourne, according to the Mission's Mr Kyle Behrend.

"It would appear Baarack was once an owned sheep," said Mr Behrend.

"He had at one time been ear-tagged. However, these appear to have been torn out by the thick matted fleece around his face."

"Sheep need to be shorn at least annually. Otherwise, the fleece continues to grow and grow, as happened here," he said.

After his much-needed shearing, Mr Behrend said Baarack's fleece weighed in at 35.4kg.

"Whilst his hooves were in great condition from running over the rocks in the forest, he was in a bit of a bad way. He was underweight, and due to all of the wool around his face, he could barely see."

Baarack is now settling in with other rescued sheep at Edgar's Mission, Mr Behrend said, adding it "all goes to show what incredibly resilient and brave animals sheep really are and we could not love them any more if we tried".

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