About Wild SheepAbout Wild Sheep

Wild sheep or bushies have long been known to occur in the area around the headwaters of the Waianakarua River, inland from Herbert and Hampden, in North Otago, NZ. This area is at the southern end of the Kakanui Mountains and the northern end of the Horse Range. They originated from stragglers that escaped muster on sheep farms, and although occasionally shot, were largely left alone. From about the 1970s serious efforts were made to eradicate these feral animals, partly to facilitate development of some of the land, and partly because of the perceived damage they were causing to patches of native forest. About this time, some were re-domesticated, largely for their novelty value.

Although these sheep are generally referred to as the Herbert breed – named after the Herbert Forest plantation of exotic pine trees planted in the foothills – they have also been called Waianakarua sheep from the river that flows through the area, and even Kakanui from the southern end of the mountain range, part of which forms the catchment of the River.

There are few of these sheep in domestication, and no studies have been made of them.

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