Known throughout the world as Roger the enormous Australian kangaroo, the 2m tall giant sadly reached the end of his life at the weekend.
Roger was just a small joey in his mother's pouch when she was sadly hit and killed on a highway in remote central Australia. Taken in and raised by his rescuer in Alice Springs 12 years ago, Roger soon garnered world-wide attention thanks to his enormous size and physique.
But Roger finally gave way to old age and passed away peacefully under his favourite witchetty tree in the sanctuary in which he lived.
The outpouring of love and condolence messages have been overwhelming for the staff at The Kangaroo Sanctuary. When you hear about Roger's story, you can truly understand why.
The story of Roger, the giant kangaroo
Chris ‘Brolga’ Barnes was patrolling the roads just north of Alice Springs in the very heart of Australia when he came across a kangaroo on the side of the road; the female roo had unfortunately been hit and killed by a car. However, to Chris' surprise, a small, almost-hairless joey was found alive inside his mother's pouch.
The joey was five months old, and according to Chris, the tiny roo resembled Roger Rabbit.
"I used to call him Roger Rabbit because he looked like Roger Rabbit with these big ears that flopped over the top. And then that just became Roger as he got older," Chris said.
Chris took Roger, who had suffered some injuries to his feet, back to Alice Springs where he decided to set up a sanctuary for the orphaned joey. Thus, The Kangaroo Sanctuary was born, which would later become home to dozens more orphaned or injured kangaroos.
Roger the alpha male kangaroo
As Roger began to grow in his new habitat, Chris and others quickly began to notice his enormous size and physique. At the age of two, Roger started to come into his own and, as normal for male kangaroos, began to exert his dominance.
Pictures of Roger soon began circulating online showing the size and scale of the enormous roo. Professional bodybuilders were even said to have been wowed by Roger's upper body strength and physique!
Chris and Roger were close up until this point when the alpha male began to see Chris as a competitor.
"[Male kangaroos] want someone to kickbox with and Roger used to practise his kickboxing with me," Chris said.
"He very much misunderstood my posture and he thought I was challenging him to fight. That's why Roger used to chase me around the bush everywhere. He was saying, 'I'm number one here'."
Number one he was with an apparent 12 'wives' during his reign!
After years at the helm, Roger eventually relinquished power to his son. However, it wasn't until Roger was about 11 years old that he let Chris pat him once again.
"Roger became a beautiful, loving kangaroo. He submitted every time his son, who was the same size as him, came around," Chris said.
Worldwide fame for Roger the red kangaroo
Red kangaroos are the largest breed of kangaroo standing on average about 1.5m. With Roger at the upper end of some of the largest ever known red kangaroos, at 2m, his fame stretched far and wide.
A 2015 image of Roger crushing a metal bucket with his hands took the world by storm, and it's not surprising to see why!
Many people from around the world think of kangaroos as soft, cuddly, unique-looking creatures without realising the size and power behind some breeds. In Roger's case, his was most impressive to the local female roos!
Tributes have been coming in thick and fast to The Kangaroo Sanctuary team from Roger's millions of followers from around the world.
"He lived a lovely long life and was loved by millions around the world," Chris said.
"He's passed away very peacefully under his favourite witchetty bush where he liked to sleep to get out of the hot sun."
Roger has been buried within the sanctuary grounds.
Our condolences to The Kangaroo Sanctuary team. And Roger, may you enjoy a new life amongst your mob once again.
Story credit: ABC News and BBC
Instagram credits: The Kangaroo Sanctuary
Article photo used for illustration purposes only