Friday, June 12, 2015

Roger the ‘Roo: From joey to “Hey Joe”

A baby kangaroo, called a "Joey," roams the 90-acre Kangaroo Sanctuary in Central, Australia  (The Kangaroo Sanctuary)

NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA Move over Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, there’s a new kid on the block, and his name is Roger.

Talk about buff!

Roger, the well-toned kangaroo (Kangaroo Sanctuary)
Roger is the kangaroo equivalent of Arnold Schwazenegger in his prime, and he’s making big news in the “Land Down Under.” At 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing in at 200 pounds, the 9 year old marsupial is….well shall we say “ripped.”

Back in 2005, Chris Barns rescued his first “joey,” or baby kangaroo. He became so passionate about the idea of saving kangaroos and educating the public about caring for the large hopping Australian beasts that he quit his job to open The KangarooSanctuary in Alice Springs. Today Barns’ wildlife reserve features 90-acres of untouched bush-land where his mob of 25 kangaroos live.

A “mob,” by the way, is the proper term for a group of kangaroos.

Thanks to donations from fellow Australians and other international assistance, Barns, or “Brolga” as he has come to be known, went on to build his wildlife refuge between 2009-11. Since then Brolga has become the subject of a BBC/National Geographic documentary called Kangaroo Dundee. And the star of the show is, of course, Roger the Roo.

Roger as a Joey  (Kangaroo Sanctuary)
To say that Roger is “chiseled” is an understatement. Weighing just 2 pounds when he was rescued by Barns from a roadside in 2006, Roger now boasts a physique that has made him an international celebrity.

Say Brolga, “I rescued Roger from his dead mother’s pouch in 2006 when he weighed just 2 pounds. Today he’s a beautiful 200 pounds of ‘Aussie muscle,’ I am so proud of him.”

Roger’s favorite pastime, when he isn’t wooing the ladies, is using his strength to crush metal buckets. Naturally Roger’s hobby has made him the star attraction for visitors who come to view his magnificent bod.

According to Barns, red kangaroos can live for more than two decades in the wild, and the bigger they are, the more likely they are to have success with the ladies. Based on Roger’s headshots, he will be well satisfied for the rest of his life.

“Roger probably isn’t finished honing his guns,” adds Barns. “He’s still growing, so he’ll get bigger.”
Roger is definitely a ladies man  (Kangaroo Sanctuary) 
Though he is now 9 years old, it appears there is no “midlife crisis” in Roger’s future.

If you are not careful Roger can still be a powerful force to reckon with, even when he is just having fun. “You never stand and trade blows, not that I would, you don’t want to get within kicking range of Roger,” Barns told News Corp Australia. “Just his hands can scratch you up badly. Recently he gave me six stitches in the groin. You’ve got to understand that big male kangaroos have the potential to disembowel you. I was very lucky recently getting away with just a few stitches.”

Crushing metal buckets is a favorite activity  (Kangaroo Sanctuary)
Judging from the photos, Roger has free range to go wherever he likes. When he is not crushing metal feed buckets, Roger spends his days grazing on grass and grains and kick boxing. Oh yes, and pleasing the female contingent of the mob.

On the other hand, Roger does have a softer side as evidenced by they way he cuddles with his favorite stuffed bunny.

Guided tours at Alice Springs Kangaroo Sanctuary are approximately two and a half hours long on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays when visitors can experience the kangaroos awaking from their naps.

As Brolga says, “Roger’s natural instincts as a grown male tell him to fight me. So we have a level of respect for one another now. I run from him.”
One of the kangaroo mob at the Kangaroo Sanctuary poses as Kangaroo Dundee  (Kangaroo Sanctuary)

So from “Pal Joey” to “Kangaroo Dundee” Roger the Roo has become one spectacular specimen of physical fitness.