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Whatever Happened To Shrek the Sheep?
by Jen Longshaw

Shrek the Sheep

He became a favourite of the world paparazzi in April 2004 but after being shorn of his locks Shrek the Sheep seems to have disappeared from the world scene.

The ten-year-old wether had evaded musterers for six years while living 1500 metres above sea level on Bendigo Station in Central Otago’s Dunstan Range in New Zealand. Sporting a fleece of 27kgs Shrek’s wool had staples 380 mms long. Normally one year’s growth of merino wool weighs 4.5 kgs with staples 85mms in length.  

Shrek lost his freedom on Thursday 15th April 2004 when station workers were mustering 1500 ewes on the block that had been his home for half a decade. Spotting him on a rocky outcrop Bendigo Station owner John Perriam initially could not believe what he was seeing. Completely cloaked in his bedraggled fleece only a small area of Shrek’s face and 50mms of his legs were visible.

"Nobody believed it was a sheep," Mr Perriam said.

Normally farmers only keep wethers for five or six years but Shrek’s ear tag confirmed that he had been born at Bendigo Station in 1995. However his tenacity at surviving the summer heat and bitter winters with snow metres deep earned his owner’s respect.

"To survive that, he must have good infrastructure around him. He must have lived under a rocky ledge," Mr Perriam remarked.

Not only that but Shrek’s wool was amazingly clean with no dags and the staple intact. Although his enormous fleece impeded his vision his knowledge of the terrain had kept Shrek safe on the 60m cliffs.

Shrek was shorn late April 2004 in the presence of the media and the proceeds from the sale of the fleece donated to charity. In the following weeks he was seen meeting members of the public and celebrities such as New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke.

Although he attended an Auckland Pet Expo in 2005 not much more has been heard from Shrek the Sheep. However despite concerns that he may have ended up served with mint sauce owner John Perriam has promised that his woolly star will live out the rest of his life on Bendigo Station in quiet celebrity.

UPDATE: Sadly Shrek had to be put down on the 7th June 2011 but a funeral was held and his ashes scattered on Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.

©Jen Longshaw 2006-2011 Please do not copy in any manner, print or electronic, without permission from the author.


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