A Scottish ewe, dubbed “Britain’s loneliest sheep” is in hiding after she was dramatically rescued from a remote highland beach, where she has lived for at least two years.
The sheep, now named Fiona, was rescued on Saturday when farmers winched her to safety up a sheer cliff face, which had prevented her from rejoining her flock.
She has since been shorn of years of overgrown wool, and it was planned for her to spend her days at Dalscone Farm, a petting zoo near Dumfries.
Those plans were put in jeopardy and Fiona was whisked into hiding when an animal rights group accused the farm of exploiting her as a “spectacle” and picketed the property.
Kayaker Jillian Turner first spotted Fiona alone and isolated two years ago as she paddled along the remote, cliff-lined shore at the Cromarty Firth with her kayaking club.
The sheep’s plight gained media attention last month when Turner returned to the area and photographed her still trapped on the shore beneath the cliffs.
Fiona was dubbed “Britain’s loneliest sheep” and an online petition to rescue her attracted thousands of signatures.
After Fiona’s rescue, a small group of activists from Animal Rising – who said they had their own plans to rescue the sheep – staged a protest at Dalscone Farm on Sunday.
“It was a peaceful, non-violent demonstration. We want Fiona to be re-homed at a sanctuary rather than a petting zoo,” a spokesman wasd quoted as saying by the BBC.
Farm manager Ben Best of Dalscone Farm said in a Facebook video that the farm was closed for the winter and would not welcome visitors for several months.
He said staff and family members felt “intimidated” by demonstrators who were holding “Free Fiona” placards and flying a drone and .
Fiona, who is reportedly in a healthy condition after her isolation, will now remain at an undisclosed location until the dispute over her future home is settled, the BBC reported.
Fiona’s rescue operation was led by professional shearer Cammy Wilson, who told the BBC he became determined to help the sheep after seeing online criticism of the farmer whose flock she once belonged to.
The owner had made several attempts to rescue Fiona, but said it posed a danger to himself and his employees.
Wilson said his own commercial farm was not set up for looking after Fiona, and he believed Dalscone Farm was the best home for her.