Since his infamous entrance into the limelight in 2015, ‘Chris the Sheep’ has continued to bewilder and amaze people around the world. Who knew an innocent tweet could thrust a single lost sheep onto the world stage?
He's been reported by media outlets in just about every country you could name and has been featured on well-known news services and networks such as CNN, NBC, BBC, National Geographic, Huffington Post, and more!
But this time, he’s making an appearance as the illustrated star of RSPCA ACT’s first children’s book, ‘The Misadventures of Chris the Sheep’.
Of the hundreds of questions RSPCA ACT CEO Tammy Ven Dange receives about Chris, the most frequently asked one is, “Why did Chris get so big?”
In an effort to educate children about animal welfare, RSPCA ACT has teamed up with local artist, Kylie Fogarty to create a children's picture book about Chris' adventure while he was separated from his flock.
Ms. Ven Dange explained why RSPCA ACT chose to use Chris as the character to introduce their education program, “‘Chris the Sheep’ has become something of an Aussie icon for animal welfare since his rescue two years ago. It seemed like a natural idea to use his story as a way to educate children and raise much-needed funds for our local shelter,”
"We have big plans this financial year to expand our education program and ‘The Misadventures of Chris the Sheep’ is just the start of that." she said.
SO WHAT MAKES HIM SO INTERESTING?
The errant Chris was given a record-breaking haircut that took a mammoth 45 minutes resulting in 41.10 kg (90 lb 9.76 oz) of wool -an incredible amount when considering the average fleece weighs just 5 kg and takes only a few minutes to remove!
Chris’ shearing smashed the previous Guinness World Record held by New Zealand sheep Big Ben from whom 28.9 kg (63 lb 11 oz) of wool was removed the previous year.
Merinos are bred especially for their wool and do not shed without human intervention. If not, they are at serious jeopardy in developing serious medical issues like flystrike or infection. Despite the novelty of the world record, it’s RSPCA ACT’s intention that people don’t lose sight of the animal welfare issues behind the record.
"We can only hope that record is never broken again because it would be unlikely that the animal would live to tell the story," said Ms Ven Dange.
"Chris the Sheep wouldn't have made it through summer had we not intervened. That's the story that we want people to remember."
The fleece was donated to the National Museum of Australia and is on show in the Museum’s Old New Land gallery, where it is on display among other icons of Australian history.
All proceeds of the sale of the book will go back to helping animals in the ACT.
Purchase the book by visiting http://www.rspca-act.org.au/misadventures-chris-sheep