A champion shearer has removed a world record-breaking 40.45kg fleece from an overgrown sheep - after being called in by the RSPCA.
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Chris the Sheep" was rescued by RSPCA ACT on 2 September 2015 in Canberra, Australia, after a member of the public informed inspectors about his woolly plight.
It took the organisation a few days to find him, and five staff members (plus the finder) to get him back to the shelter.
The charity said he had been away from his herd and human contact for at least five years as his merino wool had grown to an incredible mass.
Furthermore, as a solitary sheep, he was incredibly stressed from the new human contact.
A spokesman said: "While he could barely walk or fit through the RSPCA paddock doors, our biggest fear was that he might have serious infections under that mass of wool.
"We needed to shear him as soon as possible. However, we were also unsure if he could live through this ordeal as he was clearly stressed and could die easily of shock.
"Under the guidance of RSPCA ACT veterinarians and the help of a shearer, 40.45 kilograms of wool was taken from the sheep the following morning, which was a new unofficial world record!"
RSPCA chief Tammy Ven Dange tweeted about the process of Chris' fleece removal by four-time Australian Shearing Championship winner Ian Elkins.
The shearing has begun! This might take a while... pic.twitter.com/HgVsnOg7ei— RSPCA ACT (@rspcaact) September 2, 2015
The official number is in (minus 2kg for the bag)! pic.twitter.com/l69eQlW3NV— RSPCA ACT (@rspcaact) September 3, 2015
He's now reportedly doing well post-shearing. RSCPA ACT said: "While Chris continues to recover from his massive day, he's already looking like a new man! As vets still have minor health concerns about Chris, he will remain under observation for a few days and should be available for adoption soon."
[Note: the pink stain is antiseptic, not blood.]
The charity is now seeking donations to help look after Chris and their other animals, saying: "We really appreciate the interest around Chris and his story. It takes an awful lot of resources to care for him and the other 7000 animals we see at RSPCA ACT each year.
"As a result, we would really appreciate your donation to help us, and if you do donate more than $50 (within Australia) or $100 (international), we would be happy to send you an official "Chris the Sheep" plush toy as a special thank you. Please give us 3 weeks for delivery in Australia, and a bit longer for international deliveries."
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