Today, Australia (and the world) mourns the loss of a national icon. But Roger is not your usual celebrity – he is an Internet-famous red kangaroo.
Chris Barns from the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs shared the sad news in a Facebook post on Saturday, telling fans the marsupial died of natural causes at the ripe old age of 12.
“He lived a lovely long life and was loved by millions around the world. We will always love you and miss you, Roger.”
Barns adopted Roger when he was just a joey after his mother was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2006. He then built a sanctuary to house Roger and his (then) two “wives”, Ella and Abigail.
Over the years, Roger grew to epic proportions – even by kangaroo standards – reaching heights of 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) and weights of 89 kilograms (196 pounds), BBC News reports. He became the sanctuary’s alpha male, enjoying a polyamorous relationship with his 12 “wives”.
But it was in 2015 that Roger achieved celebrity status when a clip of him crushing a metal bucket with his bare hands (sorry, paws) went viral.
Roger’s strength and aggression (or joie de vivre) were clearly evident in everything he did, whether it was chasing Barns, picking fights with other bucks in the sanctuary, or attacking inanimate objects. But with old age he became increasingly mellow, Barns said in another Facebook update posted earlier this year. And at 12 years old, he had lived a long and healthy life.
Kangaroos like Roger can live to 14 but very rarely reach that age in the outback. As Barns explained in an interview with BBC News, as they get older and weaker they become vulnerable to attack from animals like dingos and wild dogs.
In an ode to this magnificent animal, we have collated a list of some of the other incredibly hench beasts that have graced the Internet in recent years.
First, there is Shabani, the gorilla who caused a storm on the Internet (and at one Japanese zoo) because of his “brooding” good looks.
Then, there is this “absolute unit” of a ram.
And who can forget the impossibly butch mutant pigs from a Cambodian farm who look like they could stage their own Orwellian-style revolution at any moment?
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