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Sheep lost in the wild for six years sheared of 88 pounds of fleece

March 17 (UPI) — A sheep found wandering on an Australian mountain was relieved of a great weight when his first shearing in at least six years removed 88 pounds of fleece.

Pam Ahern, owner of Victoria animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission, said she recently received a call about a sheep found by a hiker on nearby Mount Alexander.

The sheep, dubbed Alex in honor of where he was found, had apparently escaped from a farm when he was only a baby and hadn’t been sheared in at least six years, and may have escaped before even receiving his first shearing.

“He had 40 kilos of wool on him when he came to us,” Ahern told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “He had urine, sticks, twigs and bugs all over him — it was heartbreaking.

Ahern said Alex’s wool was so matted she had to call in an expert to perform a shearing.

“Holly came out at midnight and worked on him for about an hour,” she said. “It was critical, if we didn’t get it off him that night, I actually don’t think he would have made it through the night.”

Holly Kendall, who performed the shearing, said Alex’s condition began to improve quickly.

“When we finished he still needed help to stand but you could see his eyes getting brighter by the minute,” she said.

Edgar’s Mission shared video of Alex’s transformation on Facebook.

“Did you know that sheep, like Alex, require at least annual shearing for their welfare? This is a direct result of human selective breeding for wool that is harvested for commercial purposes and speaks to how we have altered their lives,” the group’s post said.

Ahern said Edgar will have a new permanent home at her sanctuary.

“He’ll now stay with us, and he’s already formed a strong bond with Chloe and Molly Brown, our two other sheep,” she said.

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