Shrek (sheep)

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Shrek the Sheep, Tarras.jpg
Shrek in November 2008
Species Ovis aries (domestic sheep)
Breed Merino
Sex male
Born (1994-11-27)27 November 1994
Died 6 June 2011(2011-06-06) (aged 16)
Tarras, Otago, New Zealand
Years active 2004–2011
Known for Avoiding capture
Owner Bendigo Station

Shrek (27 November 1994 – 6 June 2011)[1] was a Merino wether (castrated male sheep) belonging to Bendigo Station, a sheep station near Tarras, New Zealand, who gained international fame in 2004, after he avoided being caught and shorn for six years. Merinos are normally shorn annually, but Shrek apparently hid in caves, avoiding muster. He was named after the fictional ogre in books and films of the same name.[2]

After finally being caught on 15 April 2004, the wether was shorn by a professional in 20 minutes on 28 April. The shearing was broadcast on national television in New Zealand.[3][4] His fleece contained enough wool to make 20 large men's suits, weighing 27 kg (60 lb) — an average Merino fleece weighs around 4.5 kg (9.9 lb),[5] with exceptional weights up to around 15 kg (33 lb).[6]

Shrek became a national icon. He was taken to parliament to meet the then-New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, in May 2004, to celebrate his 10th birthday.[7][8] In November 2006, 30 months after his initial shearing. Shrek was shorn again, on an iceberg floating off the coast of Dunedin, New Zealand.[9][10]

Shrek was euthanised on 6 June 2011 on the request of his owner after the animal had entered a convalescent state for three weeks. While treatment was available, it was cost intensive, and as such obviated. He was 16.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shrek the celebrity sheep dies". Otago Daily Times. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Hermit sheep 'Shrek' shorn of 6-year-old woolly fleece". China Daily. 29 April 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "NZ's famous sheep gets TV haircut". BBC. 28 April 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  4. ^ Booth, Jenny (28 April 2004). "Shrek the sheep shorn at last". London: BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  5. ^ "2002 Australian wool production survey, giving (p. 6) average Merino fleece weights" (PDF). 
  6. ^ "Merino stud ram listed (p 3) with fleece weight of 16.2 kg" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "Celebrity sheep meets NZ leader". BBC. 3 May 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "Southland Shrek's sheep romance fizzles". The New Zealand Herald. 14 November 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  9. ^ "Shrek the sheep has close shave on ice". The Age. Australia. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  10. ^ "Dunedin-Shrek the sheep shorn again on an iceberg". NZPA. 28 November 2006. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 27 January 2008.