Campbell Island Sheep
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About Campbell Island SheepAbout Campbell Island Sheep



The first sheep were landed on sub Antarctic Campbell Islandrn(over 600 kilometers south of the New Zealand mainland) in 1895 after a grazingrnlease had been taken up. Two thousand more were introduced in 1901, and arnfurther thousand in 1902. Both of the first introductions are known to havernbeen Merinos, but the last was of an unknown breed - at least some must havernbeen longwools such as Lincolns or Leicesters.

rnrnAs a result, the Campbell Island sheep are one of the fewrnferal breeds known to have anything other than Merino blood; they range fromrnquarter- to half-bred Merino-longwool crosses. Campbell Island sheep do notrnhave the high proportion of colored animals that occur in some feral flocks.

rnrnWhen farming was abandoned on Campbell Island in 1931 thernremaining 4000 sheep were left to run wild. In 1970 half the island was fencedrnoff and the sheep in the northern half were killed, leaving only those in thernsouthern half. Ten of the latter were brought to the New Zealand mainland inrn1976, and by the late 1980s all the sheep remaining on the island had beenrnexterminated.

rnrnDescendants of the ten sheep rescued were kept on Governmentrnfarms, where they were maintained as a purebred flock until mid-2005, when theyrntransferred to private ownership – this flock is still in existence in NorthrnCanterbury. Some breeding up was undertaken at Invercargill from rams releasedrnfrom the purebred flock, however this flock has died out.

rnrn rnrnContent and Photo Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz). rnrn

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