WELLINGTON -- It's long been a joke that New Zealand is a nation more full of sheep than people -- but that's changing, the government statistics agency said Friday.
The total number of sheep was down by just more than 5 percent year on year to 27.6 million at the end of June last year, according to Statistics New Zealand.
"Between 2006 and 2016, the number of sheep reduced from just over 40 million, a drop of around 30 percent," agricultural production statistics manager Stuart Pitts said in a statement.
"We now have fewer than six sheep for each person. This is down from 1982's historic high, when there were over 70 million sheep, or 22 for every person."
The decline has coincided with the expansion of the country's dairy industry and a rising number of dairy cattle.
In the year ending June 2016, the number of dairy cattle remained steady at 6.5 million, but that was up from 5 million in 2005.
Source: Philippines News Agency