Posted by: Idioma Extra | June 7, 2011

The Weird and the Wonderful

Celebrity Sheep Shrek Dies In New Zealand After 6 Years On The Lam





It’s been a rough week for celebrity animals.

First, Queenie, the famous water-skiing elephant, died at the age of 58 or 59 and now comes word that Shrek, New Zealand’s most famous sheep, is dead at 16.

Shrek, a merino wether or castrated male sheep, came to the world’s attention in 2004 when he was found in a cave near the city of Otago after being on the lam for six years, the Otago Daily Times reports.

He had managed to avoid capture all that time and when he was finally found, he was carrying some 60 lbs. of untrimmed fleece, nearly six times more than the average merino fleece.

New Zealand is not sheepish about its love for sheep, which outnumber humans 10 to one, but the kiwis had a special place in their hearts for the rambling ruminant.

According to the London Telegraph, when Shrek’s story first came to light, he was flown to meet Prime Minister Helen Clark at the national parliament in Wellington.

Television coverage of his shearing reportedly rivaled Princess Dianna’s 1997 funeral and his wool was auctioned at high prices for charity. Experts estimate that the photos of Shrek were worth $100 million worth of publicity for New Zealand’s export industry.

But owner John Perriam said Shrek had to be put down over the weekend since his health began to fail in his old age. A funeral service is reportedly being scheduled for later this week in the city of Takapo, New Zealand.

“He was just an ordinary sheep, went AWOL and hid. And when he was found he became the darling of the nation,” Perriam told TVNZ.

“He had an unbelievable personality. He loved children, and he was really good with the elderly in retirement homes.”

Cure Kids fundraising’s Josie Spillane, whose charity benefited from Shrek’s woolly windfall, told the Southland Times that dozens of kids’ lives had been positively affected by him.

At the end of the day, it is the death of an iconic Kiwi,” she said. “He just happens to be a sheep.”

Word of the Day

Origin:  Latin castratus, past participle of castrare; akin to Greek keazein to split, Sanskrit śasati he slaughters
First Known Use: 1554
1: to render impotent or deprive of vitality especially by psychological means
2 a: to deprive of the testes : geld
b: to deprive of the ovaries : spay

More Vocabulary

AWOL: adj. or adv. absent without leave; broadly: absent often without notice or permission
Darling: adj.
dearly loved
Fleece: n.
the wool obtained from a sheep at one shearing
Ruminant: adj.
of or relating to two suborders (Ruminantia and Tylopoda) of herbivorous even-toed hoofed mammals (as sheep, oxen, deer, and camels) that chew the cud and have a complex 3- or 4-chambered stomach
Shear: v.
to cut or clip (as hair or wool) from someone or something
Sheep: n.
any of various hollow-horned typically gregarious ruminant mammals (genus Ovis) related to the goats but stockier and lacking a beard in the male
Sheepish: adj.
affected by or showing embarrassment caused by consciousness of a fault
Windfall: n.
an unexpected, unearned, or sudden gain or advantage

Idioms & Phrases

At the end of the day: finally; in the end
We interviewed many people for the job, but at the end of the day, we didn’t think any of them could handle.

On the lam: running from the police
Richard has been on the lam for a week now.

Love those Phrasal Verbs

Put down: to subject (an animal) to euthanasia
We had to put Buffy down because she was very sick.

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