Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where Sheep Outnumber Humans

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Merino sheep, prized for their fine wool, cloak Alpine foothills. The first sheep in New Zealand arrived courtesy of Capt. James Cook in 1773. They now outnumber humans in New Zealand by a ratio of 12 to 1.

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New Zealand has 45 million sheep and produces the finest wool in the world and is also the biggest producer of wool in the world after Australia. The sheep outnumber the country's human population by more than 11 or 12 to one.
British colonists first successfully introduced sheep to New Zealand in the early 1800s. Today there are six main sheep breeds, and about 30 breeds in total. Farmers keep breeds that best suit their type of farmland and climate.
The Merino, for instance, is favoured in the alpine grasslands of the South Island's Southern Alps. Halfbreds and Corriedales are bred on the foothills and plains east of the Alps. Romneys, Coopworths and Perendales are typical of the 'crossbred' breeds, used for meat
and wool production.


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