Is Dolly, 23, from Ditchling, the oldest sheep in the world?

Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130103001
Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130103001
0
Have your say

The owner of an animal sanctuary believes her sheep called Dolly is the oldest in the world after she turned 23 - around 120 in human years.

Dolly could snatch the Guinness Book Of Records title from Lucky, a 23-year-old ewe that died in 2009.

Owner Sharon Moore adopted Dolly aged 16 when her owner became too ill to care for her.

Dolly has lived to the grand old age thanks to a diet of apples at the Moore Racehorse Trust animal sanctuary, in Ditchling, East Sussex.

Sharon, 46, said: “We got Dolly from a lady who was terminally ill. She had leukaemia and passed away before she could see Dolly in her new home.

“She was 16 when we got her and that was seven years ago. Everyone that sees her can tell she’s really elderly.

Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130144001

Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130144001

“She looks really frail and she’s a bit unsteady on her feet but she’s still very strong.

“She’s amazing. Year after year I think, ‘This will be her last summer’ but she just keeps going. She’s just got such a strong will to live.

“She has a normal diet of sheep food, hay and grass, but she really loves apples - perhaps that’s her secret to a long life.”

Sharon, a retired owner of a gardening business, runs the sanctuary with husband-of-18-years Gary, 56.

She really loves apples – perhaps that’s her secret to a long life.

Sharon Moore

They have four grown-up children between them but love extending their family by rescuing animals.

Dolly, believed to be a cross breed, came to them in 2008 along with three other sheep and a goat and now needs special treatment in the winter because of her seniority.

Sharon said: “A couple of years ago when there was heavy snow she got frozen to the ground and we had to go out and defrost her.

“She didn’t seem too bothered by it but now sleeps in a special shelter.”

Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130019001

Dolly the sheep who is believed to be 23 years old - 120 in human terms. Picture by Tony Kershaw SWNS SUS-150317-130019001

The previous record holder, the unfortunate Lucky, died in a heatwave in 2009 at her farm in Lake Bolac, 57 miles west of Melbourne, in Australia.

While the previous unofficial record holder Methuselina died in 2009 at the age of 25 years and 11 months when it fell off a cliff in Lewes, East Suss