Authorities in Canberra, Australia, were alerted when a hiker discovered a sheep near the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary. While that in and of itself may not seem like a reason to contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the fact that the Merino sheep had so much wool it could barely see was enough reason.
The sheep, named Chris after a character on Father Ted, was rescued by the Canberra RSPCA, according to The Associated Press. The CEO of that organization, Tammy Ven Dange, put out an alert on Twitter, asking for a shearer to remove the 89 pounds of wool (about 30 sweaters’ worth) from the 97-pound sheep.
— Tammy Ven Dange (@tvendange) September 2, 2015
Ian Elkins, a champion shearer, responded to Ven Dange’s request, and carefully removed the wool after giving Chris anesthesia. Chris was put under anesthesia because he was stressed by human contact and because of the potential pain associated with removing that much wool (his skin could have torn).
— ABC News Canberra (@abcnewsCanberra) September 3, 2015
Elkins guessed Chris to be around 5 or 6 years old, and all agreed it was lucky he was found when he was. With the summer approaching in Australia, and sheep unable to sweat, Chris could have been subjected to a number of health risks. In addition, urine was getting trapped in his wool and if he had fallen it would have been very difficult for him to get back up, making him an easy target for predators, NPR reports.
Thankfully Chris is doing much better without all that extra weight. As soon as he’s ready, he will be up for adoption.