Shrek story huge offshore

International interest in Shrek the sheep's death escalated yesterday, with owner and minder John Perriam being interviewed for the BBC in England and for Australian television.

There were also hints the famous merino might not be cremated, but preserved for posterity, Phar Lap-style.

"The Shrek story is just as strong as it ever was. Even though he's died, his story lives on," Mr Perriam said.

"The BBC was telling its viewers that New Zealand was in mourning for the loss of its most famous sheep, and talked about Shrek's journey, his discovery and the shearing and what he's done in the past seven years. The publicity has been really good exposure for New Zealand again."

Mr Perriam said it was "pretty astounding" to find out the news item on the sheep was the second most popular story on many United Kingdom news websites.

No date has been arranged yet for Shrek's funeral but Mr Perriam was grateful to learn one could be staged at the Church of the Good Shepherd, at Tekapo.

He had planned to cremate Shrek, who died on Monday, and scatter the ashes at Bendigo Station and on Mount Cook, but was reconsidering that proposal.

"I've heard from some people who are disappointed he's going to be cremated and would rather him be preserved, like Phar Lap was, so we need to weigh that up, and get our heads around that idea."

"Te Papa and the Otago Museum had approached us quite some time ago, to indicate their interest if Shrek was going to be preserved after his death," Mr Perriam said.

lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz