Fare-wool: New Zealanders mourn the death of Shrek, the world's shaggiest sheep


Playboy sheep: Shrek, widely considered to be the world's woolliest sheep, has died in New Zealand at the age of 17

New Zealand is in mourning after the death of one of its biggest stars, a celebrity sheep called Shrek who was reckoned to be the woolliest in the world.

The 17-year-old Merino sheep was put to sleep yesterday after a long and glamourous life that included TV shows, national tours, his own barn and a personal carer; he even made it into the pages of Playboy magazine.

Shrek captured the public's imagination in 2004 after he evaded the annual shearing round-ups for seven years by hiding in caves on his farm on South Island. When finally found, he was clad in an astonishing 27kg of wool.

Walking cloud: Shrek was toured around the country for charity events in the back of a van by musterer Danny Devine (left) and owner John Perriam

In a country where sheep outnumber people by nearly 10 to one, Shrek's story of stubbornness and guile appealed to many.

After his capture, Shrek was shorn on live TV in a broadcast which was picked up around the world and watched by millions. His story inspired three books.

'He was quite an elderly statesman,' said owner John Perriam.

Before: Shrek was nine years old when he was eventually caught for shearing and was carrying 27kg of wool

'He taught us a lot.'

Until becoming sick three weeks ago, Shrek toured the country, commanding huge sums of money for appearances and getting the star treatment wherever he went.

In one appearance, he was shorn on top of a large iceberg which was floating near the South Island coast.

... And after: Shrek, with his owner John Perriam after being shorn in Cromwell, on 28 April 2004, before 200 onlookers and a live worldwide television audience

Shrek was one of about 17,000 sheep on the the 27,000-acre Bendigo farm in the small town of Tarras.

Mr Perriam believes Shrek was able to survive the winters and avoid detection by moving about a series of sheltered caves and by munching on small native shrubs.
'It's bizarre that we missed him seven years in a row,' he said.

'But from his point of view, it was the perfect environment.'

After Shrek became a star, Mr Perriam gave him his own barn and showroom. Shrek even had a personal carer to look after him when he became sick, before being put to sleep yesterday at the age of 17.

Mr Perriam said that as well as laying claim to being New Zealand's woolliest sheep, Shrek may also have been its oldest.

Most sheep live for no more than six years before being slaughtered.

source: dailymail