Valais Blacknose sheep, dubbed the world’s cutest sheep, have been born in Australia for the very first time.
This follows the successful importation of semen and embryos from the UK by Australian importer Caprotek.
The sheep, which originated in the Swiss Alps, were for centuries used for their meat and wool. More recently, due to their cuteness and gentle temperament, many people are keeping them purely as pets.
Andrew Tongue, Head of Biosecurity Australia, said the breed has spread across the globe to Europe, the UK, and the US, and now finally Australia.
“Farmers and pet lovers have been interested in getting the Valais Blacknose breed into Australia for many years, but an Australian importer, Caprotek, finally succeeded following a request to the department to import embryos and semen from this breed.”
Tongue said the department liaised with the importer to ensure the genetic material met all of Australia’s strict biosecurity requirements.
“Sheep genetic material could potentially pose a risk of serious animal diseases such as scrapie, the ovine equivalent of Mad Cow disease. Following a long process over three years, complicated by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the frozen embryos and semen were approved by the department and were able to make their way to Australia.”
The importer was able to meet all the biosecurity requirements and the Valais Blacknose sheep can finally call Australia home.