Shrek, the merino wether made world-famous in 2004 for avoiding muster and shearing for six years at Central Otago’s Bendigo Station, has died.
“He was really quite a renegade and that came through later on as the years went on. He had an unbelievable personality. He loved children and he was really good with the elderly in retirement homes. It’s a bit strange to come out this morning and he’s not here anymore because we fed him in the morning and the evening and the last three weeks he had a permanent caregiver.”
Musterer Daniel Devine carries Shrek in 2004.
[Photo credit: Stephen Jaquiery]
Shrek led an extraordinary life: his first shearing after being found–yielding 27 kilos, or six times the wool normally gathered from a merino–took place on national television, he met then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, flew all over the country, raised thousands for the Cure Kids charity, had his story told in several children’s books, made more money than the All Blacks for public appearances, was sheared again on an iceberg, contributed $100 million to the NZ economy, retired to a beautiful farm house, and ultimately lived almost 17 years when most sheep are killed by the age of six.
“Shrek was put down on Monday morning after suffering from circulation problems. He would have turned 17 this year, making him one of the oldest sheep in the country. The response to his death has been remarkable, much bigger than I expected. It just shows how many people’s lives he touched.”
Shrek particularly fascinated me because he embodied the transition from (unnamed) livestock to (named) pet, extending our understanding of companion species, and demonstrating how affective people’s relationships with animals can be.
“A service for Shrek will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd at Tekapo, and his ashes will be scattered on Bendigo Station and Aoraki Mount Cook.”
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo.
[Photo credit: Fraser Gunn]