Chris the overgrown Australian sheep breaks unofficial world record following shearing

World champion shearer said he had 'never seen anything like it' in 35 years

A lost sheep whose coat was so overgrown it threatened its life has been found and shaved, breaking an unofficial world record in the process.

The merino ewe, named Chris by volunteers, was spotted by a walker near the Mulligan Flats, outside the Australia capital Canberra, on Tuesday. It is believed the animal had become separated from his flock years ago.

Four-time Australian champion shearer Ian Elkins responded to the RSPCA’s call for help, eventually taking 40kg of wool off the Chris the sheep – and setting an unofficial world record.

Mr Elkins said he had never seen anything like it in his 35 years of experience. Chris had be sedated for the procedure, which eventually included four extra shearers to cope with the huge amounts of wool.

Bred for their wool, Merino sheep can suffer infections and flystrike if they are not regularly groomed. Following his haircut, Chris is reportedly doing well.

His coat breaks the record previously held by New Zealand Merino sheep named Shrek in 2004. The animal, believed to have been in the wild for six years, was sheared live on television and produced 28kg of wool.

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