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Sheep Shorn! Shearer Steps in to Save Woolly Beast

Sheep
A giant woolly sheep wanders on the outskirts of Canberra, Australia. RSPCA via AFP - Getty Images

Animal welfare officers in Australia made a desperate appeal for shearers after finding this sheep with wool so overgrown its life was in danger. Struggling to walk under its own weight, the very woolly merino sheep was spotted wandering on its own outside the capital Canberra by bushwalkers who alerted local RSPCA officers.

On its Facebook page Tuesday, the RSPCA said it was "urgently seeking the help of a shearer." Within hours, the call had been heeded. According to Australia's public broadcaster, four time Australian Shearing Championship winner Ian Elkins "put his hand up for the job."

Elkins got to work Thursday morning, removing more than 88 pounds of wool from the overloaded beast, who has been named "Chris" by his rescuers.

"Chris" before and after his shearing. RSPCA

Video: Aussie Sheep Produces "Record Fleece"

Australian sheep shearer Ian Elkins clips over 80 pounds of wool off a sheep found near Australia's capital city Canberra.
It took 42 minutes for Australian sheep shearer Ian Elkins and helpers to clip over 88 pounds of wool off the sheep. RSPCA via Reuters
Image: Wooly Merino sheep in Canberra
Australian Champion shearer Ian Elkins poses with the record-breaking fleece. Rashida Yosufzai / EPA

-- AFP and NBC News