In 2002 a small New Zealand town struck international fame when a local sheep herder, Bendingo Station, was reunited with one of his flock that had been living under the radar for the six years prior. One of his merino sheep, later nicknamed “Shrek,” had apparently gone rogue from the rest of the flock, surviving in nearby caves by eating small amounts of grass and clover. After his recapture, Sheepherder Station remarked that it was a good thing he had been found as it would be difficult for Shrek to have survived much longer, his wool would have grown so much as to restrict his ability to munch grass. Merino sheep are a prized breed which had been specially altered and bred in 12th century Spain when international trade allowed for the perfect combination of African, Asian and English sheep breeds. As a result, sheep like Shrek grow an average of ten pounds of very fine wool annually as compared to an “unaltered” sheep which would typically grow about two.

After a short tour around the country, Shrek was finally sheared during a televised event– it took 20 minutes for an expert to free the small sheep from it’s woolen cocoon. In total, he had produced sixty pounds of wool– enough to make twenty fine suits.

Ewe don’t see that every day.

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