SYDNEY • About 40kg of wool has been sheared from a sheep found near Australia's capital, an animal charity said yesterday, making it unofficially the world's woolliest.
The animal, named Chris by its rescuers, was discovered on the northern outskirts of Canberra on Wednesday and was said to be struggling to walk under the weight of its coat.
Ms Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) ACT, the charity's Canberra division, estimated that Chris had more than five years of wool and likely little contact with humans.
Sheep can develop serious medical conditions if they are not regularly shorn. Veterinarians were worried the animal could die from shock during the shearing, so it was sedated during the process.
It took four-time Australian Shearing Championship winner Ian Elkins and four helpers 42 minutes to shear the sheep, reported ABC news. After shearing, the sheep weighed in at 44kg.
The 40.2kg of wool removed from Chris means that it was unofficially the carrier of the world's heaviest fleece, shattering the record set by New Zealand sheep Big Ben, found to be carrying nearly 29kg of wool in 2014.
Big Ben dethroned fellow Kiwi, Shrek, who gained national celebrity status in its home nation, meeting then Prime Minister Helen Clark and becoming the subject of several children's books before its death in 2011.