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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
NZ's famous sheep gets TV haircut
Shrek before shearing
Shrek's wool is enough to make 20 men's suits
A renegade New Zealand sheep that managed to evade the shearers for six years has finally had a haircut.

Shrek, the Merino sheep, was shorn live on national television by top shearers David Fagan and Peter Casserley.

The 10-year-old sheep had managed to roam freely on New Zealand's South Island for more than six years before being finally rounded up.

Shrek's giant fleece - possibly the largest ever - is to be auctioned off for children's medical charities.

Shrek went under the shearer's blade during a live half-hour news programme on TV New Zealand.

Correspondents said the contrast between the gigantic woolly mammal that entered the studio and the much leaner version that left could not have been greater.

'Biblical creature'

Bendigo hill station owner John Perriam told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Shrek had managed to evade capture for six years by hiding in a cave.

"We didn't know he was there," he said, adding that when he was finally spotted they did not immediately recognise him as a sheep.

Shrek after shearing, with Bendigo Station owner John Perriam
A shorn Shrek was given a coat of Merino wool to keep him warm
"He looked like some biblical creature."

Mr Perriam said Shrek was shorn with scissors to ensure a thin layer of wool was left in place to protect him from the oncoming winter.

The 27kg (60lb) fleece - enough to make 20 large men's suits - is to be auctioned off over the internet.

It is unclear what the future now holds for Shrek himself though, says the BBC's Phil Mercer in Sydney.

He is too old to be sold for mutton, but a new career in marketing may now lie ahead - promoting New Zealand's lucrative trade in wool.

The BBC's Michael Peschardt
"Such was the interest...that the whole process was broadcast live on New Zealand peak time television"

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