New Zealand Sheep

Lord of the Rings, bungee jumping, rolling green hills and . . . sheep – these are the things that come to mind when I think of New Zealand.

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On the drive from Auckland to Taupo we saw flocks of sheep on the mountain sides, but couldn’t get a good photo.  So I was really excited to be able to get close-up pictures of sheep today.

We had just finished a 5 hour kayak trip to see the Maori Carvings, and, as we were carrying the kayak back to the car, there was a sheep.  She was just 20 feet in front of us, in lush green grass, behind a low wooden fence.  It was a residential neighborhood, so at first I thought it was someone’s pet, but on closer inspection I realized there was a huge fenced in area and it wasn’t just in someone’s small front yard.

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When we returned to snap a few pictures we discovered there were actually half a dozen sheep there.  They were a little shy, but overall more interested in eating than running from us.

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Random Sheep Facts:

  1. There are 47.2 Million sheep in New Zealand, but only 4.2 Million people.
  2. Sheep aren’t native to New Zealand, but were introduced in 1773 by Captain Cook.
  3. A sheep can live 10 to 20 years, about as long as the dogs that herd them.
  4. If a sheep rolls over onto his back he will not be able to get back up without assistance.
  5. One sheep produces anywhere from 2 to 30 pounds of wool annually.
  6. Many of the shops in New Zealand displayed sheep paraphernalia in the windows and sidewalks.  There was everything from ‘Sheep Crossing’ signs to bronze sculptures.

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