Shaggy, skittish, saved: the Spanish sheep brought back from the brink

Shaggy, skittish, saved: the Spanish sheep brought back from the brink

Thanks to a local vet and a group of concerned ecologists, the churra lebrijana breed has been rescued from extinction

Every morning a trio of churra lebrijana sheep turn up eagerly for work, toiling away as children head to school and the rush-hour traffic grips the southern Spanish city of Seville. Shaggy, skittish and nearly extinct, the daily outing is an unconventional attempt to help save the rare breed – by putting them to work.

Since the start of this year, these churra lebrijana sheep – a breed indigenous to Andalusia whose numbers had dwindled to about two dozen animals – have spent hours each day grazing and getting to know the visitors to San Jerónimo park. The project is the culmination of a decades-long conservation effort by local officials and a bit of left-field thinking by ecologists.

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