New Zealanders Mourn Death of Once-Fugitive Sheep

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 6:40 am (UTC-5)
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New Zealanders are in mourning the loss of Shrek, a marino sheep who became a beloved national hero after it was discovered in 2004 that he had evaded the shearing sheds for six years.

John Perriam, Shrek's owner, says the 16-year-old sheep was euthanized Monday because of several age-related illnesses.

Shrek broke away from the herd on Perriam's South Island farm in 1998 and disappeared. When he was found six years later, he was sporting a massive fleece that weighed about 27 kilograms. Shrek captured the attention, and eventual affection, of New Zealanders when he was shorn of his fleece during a live national television event.

He went on to become the subject of three books and toured the country raising money on behalf on charities benefiting children.

A memorial will be held for Shrek later this week. Perriam says the animal will be cremated and his ashes spread over Mt. Cook, New Zealand's tallest mountain.