The most famous sheep in New Zealand, Shrek, notorious for not being shorn for years, died Tuesday.
Shrek had avoided the annual shearing day for seven years on his farm on the South Island of New Zealand due to his ability to hide in caves on his farm. His story of hiding has inspired three books. Once he was shorn in 2004, he had sixty pounds of wool on him. This is about five times the annual amount that a Merino sheep, Shrek’s breed, produces in a year. His shearing was broadcasted on television and seen all around the world.
Sheep are bountiful in New Zealand; the ratio of sheep to people is about ten to one. His owner, John Perriam, owned about 17,000 sheep on his 27,000 acre farm. He thinks that Shrek was able to avoid the shearing by eating small native shrubs in the caves of the farm in the winter months.
“It’s bizarre that we missed him seven years in a row. But from his point of view, it was the perfect environment,” he said.
Citizens of New Zealand and the rest of the world, enjoyed Shrek’s story and stubbornness to his owner. Shrek toured the country, and it cost around $16,000 to have him appear for an event.
Shrek became sick about three weeks ago. He was euthanized on Monday at the old age of seventeen. Shrek may be the oldest sheep of New Zealand, as most do not live longer than the age of six, since after that they are brought to the slaughterhouse.
Online tributes to the wooly sheep have been overflowing, such as a Facebook page called “R.I.P. Shrek the Sheep.” John Perriam is having a funeral service for him, and a friend will scatter Shrek’s ashes on the top of Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand