A wild sheep found in the forest near Melbourne, Australia has been shorn of a fleece thought to be several years in the making—and weighing in at some 77 pounds.
The merino ram, named Baarack by his rescuers, was recently discovered by a member of the public and taken to Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary, about 60 kilometres north of Melbourne. Shortly after his arrival, workers at Edgar’s Mission removed Baarack’s fleece in order to save his life.
"Sheep need to be shorn at least annually, otherwise the fleece continues to grow and grow, as happened here," said Kyle Behrend, from the sanctuary. “Whilst his hooves were in great condition from running over the rocks in the forest, he was in a bit of a bad way. He was underweight and, due to all of the wool around his face, he could barely see.”
Baarack seems to have been owned by farmers at one stage, based on indications that he used to be ear-tagged—but Behrend noted that those tags “appear to have been torn out by the thick matted fleece around his face."
The freshly shorn ram is now settling into his new home at Edgar’s Mission, where he lives alongside ewes Chloe and Molly, and is regularly serenaded with harp music.
It’s not clear what will be done with his oversized fleece—which, based on a 70 percent yield assumption, is the equivalent of almost 500 pairs of socks.