Welcoming Grizzly Bear!
CANNON HALL FARM has welcomed one of its most rare new arrivals – Grizzly Bear.
The award-winning tourist attraction, in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, has stepped in to the breech to help improve numbers of a rare sheep, the Swiss Valais Blacknose (made famous by Shaun the Sheep.)
The breed has declining numbers and the farm had already welcomed some female Swiss Valais ewes (who came embryo transplanted in another sheep breed last year.)
Since its female breed stock has grown, the farm has been looking for a male but the rarity of the breed has meant there was just one farmer who could help.
Raymond Irvine, made famous by BBC TV show My Farming Life, has the UK’s first flock of Valais Blacknose sheep, imported originally from Switzerland.
And Robert and David Nicholson filmed a fly-on-the-wall documentary of their 15-hour round trip to Scotland to collect the farm’s newest arrival – a one year old breeding male called Grizzly Bear.
Robert, whose family opened Cannon Hall Farm to the public in 1989, said: “We really feel passionately that we should get the very best stock for our visitor’s to see at the farm and this amazing breed needs protecting.
“It was the most perfect day – it was breathtaking in Scotland. Grizzly Bear is a prime example of the breed – he has four back booties and two black knees which is the perfect example of the markings a Swiss Valais should have – he really stood out to us as being from champion stock. We could not be more delighted.”
Raymond Irvine is incredibly proud of his Swiss Valais stock – and even though he’s in Scotland he helps them stay true to their homeland by piping in Swiss music and putting bells around their necks, a tradition to indicate which animal has potential for greatness.
Grizzly Bear is now on show in the rare breeds barn for visitors to see.