Outpouring of sympathy at Shrek's death

Shrek - outpouring of sympathy.
Shrek - outpouring of sympathy.
The death of New Zealand's most famous sheep has generated almost as much publicity as his discovery seven years ago.

Owner John Perriam, of Bendigo Station, spent much of yesterday fielding calls from media and people all around the country wanting to express their sympathy at the death of merino wether Shrek.

"It's gone crazy ... I've had radio interviews, television interviews, interviews for newspapers, calls from people everywhere - even a call from Hong Kong," he said.

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, Mr Perriam said.

"The response to his death has been remarkable, much bigger than I expected. It just shows how many people's lives he touched."

Among the flood of calls and emails he received yesterday were those from people wanting to nominate Shrek for all sorts of awards - including animal rights and welfare awards.

"They say he did so much for everyone, for charity, that they want that contribution recognised in some way," he said.

Shrek's story had appealed to people world wide. He was an ambassador for Cure Kids, which funds medical research into life threatening illnesses that affect children, and travelled throughout the country raising funds for the cause.

"At one stage he was earning more for a public appearance than the All Blacks get.

"No matter where you went, from the South to the far North, people recognised him. It seemed everyone had heard his story."

Mr Perriam paid tribute to the coverage by the Otago Daily Times, which sparked international interest in Shrek and the story of the sheep with the mammoth fleece that had evaded muster and shearing for six years.

Shrek spent Monday "lying in state" at Bendigo Station and will be cremated, with his ashes to be scattered on Mt Cook and at Bendigo Station. No date has been set yet for his funeral service, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, at Tekapo.


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