NEWS
09/02/2015 19:37 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Champion shearer removes record-setting fleece from shaggy sheep

UPDATE: Over 40 kg of wool was removed from the sheep Thursday morning, setting a new world record for the heaviest fleece removed in one shearing, reports ABC. The sheep is reportedly being checked by vets and will be put up for adoption.

Original story is below

A feral sheep in Australia is in dire need of a haircut and animal welfare officials have recruited a champion sheep shearer to get the job done.

The bouffant Merino sheep was spotted in a wooded region outside the Australian capital Canberra, according to Agence France Press. The errant sheep's age, gender and weight are still unknown, but officials say it's probably male, and certainly massive.

"It's definitely one of the biggest sheep we've ever seen," Tammy Ven Dange, head of the RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory, told AFP, estimating it may be "four to five times" the size of a regular sheep.

If left unsheared, the coat of a domestic sheep like the Merino will grow continuously, which can cause health problems for the animal, according to Modern Farmer.

The shearing is scheduled for Thursday, and manning the scissors is Ian Elkins.

Elkins is a six-time Australian Shearer of the Year, with 110 competition wins, including four at the Australian Shearing Championship, according to his website.

Even in his capable hands, the procedure could be risky. 

"Just be aware that this fellow might not survive, we just don't know yet," Van Dange told the Canberra Times. "There might be some heartbreak."

The future of its mighty fleece is uncertain as well, but it's probably not destined to be anyone's cozy sweater either. 

"It's pretty disgusting," Ven Dange told the Australian Associated Press. 

According to Ven Dange's Twitter account, the shearing was underway as of Wednesday evening at just after 7 p.m. EST.