Meet the baby of the world’s cutest sheep.
A sheep named Baarack received a much needed shearing after rescuers in Australia found the abandoned animal with more than 75 pounds of wool weighing it down.
Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary, an animal rescue and sanctuary on a farm in Lancefield, north of Melbourne, rescued the sheep earlier this month and shared video of his transformation on TikTok that has more than 18.5 million views.
Kyle Behrend with the sanctuary told Reuters that the person who spotted the sheep in a nearby forest called the sanctuary seeking help for the animal.
“It would appear Baarack was once an owned sheep,” Behrend told the news agency. “He had at one time been ear-tagged, however, these appear to have been torn out by the thick matted fleece around his face.”
According to Behrend, sheep need at least yearly shearing to keep their coats light enough for the animals. “Otherwise the fleece continues to grow and grow, as happened here,” he told Reuters.
After rescuing Baarack, sanctuary staff gave him the long-overdue shearing and found the fleece clocked in at 35.4 kilograms, or about 78 pounds.
Despite his heavy fleece, Baarack was actually underweight after being sheared, Behrend said. The wool around his face impaired his vision, too, but his hooves were in good conditions having been in the forest with rocks to run over for some time.
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It wasn’t clear for how long Baarack had gone without a shearing. If a sheep goes for an extended period of time without adequate care, the overgrown wool can lead to build up of manure and urine that then could lead to infection, according to a North Dakota State University fact sheet on sheep shearing. A healthy wool also helps the animal better control its body temperature.
While Baarack’s fleece was impressive in size, it’s still several pounds off from the world record of 41.1 kilograms, which is just over 90 pounds.
That record is held by Chris, a Merino rescued in 2015 also in Australia. Chris died in 2019 at Little Oak Sanctuary, which cared for the animal after shearing his massive coat.
While the large fleeces often draw international interest, they’re nothing to be proud of, Little Oaks said at the time of Chris’ death. “This is no title to covet, as it amounts to being the most neglected sheep in the world.”
As for Baarack, the sheep appears to be settling in well at his new home. In an update TikTok shared last week, the sanctuary showed Baarack snacking with his new sheep friends and being inquisitive about the camera recording him. “Baarack is getting more confident everyday!” the caption read.
Behrend told Reuters: “All goes to show what incredibly resilient and brave animals sheep really are and we could not love them any more if we tried.”
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