This story was first published in 2006.
A few years back, Black Beauty Ranch was contacted by a veterinary clinic in Cedar Hill, Texas, which had an unusual patient under treatment: a kangaroo. The clinic was seeking a permanent home for its patient.
“RooRoo,” a gray kangaroo, destined for a boxing kangaroo act, had been hand-raised by his owners. Male gray kangaroos can grow between five and seven feet tall and generally weigh less than 200 pounds; they are larger than the females. In the wild, males compete with each other by kicking each other with their feet, while balancing on their tails, and scratching with their arms. Though this behavior may remind some of “boxing,” it in no way justifies using a wild species as entertainment.
Using wild animals in entertainment deprives them of a natural life and surroundings, and it forces them to do unnatural things. This often leads to neurotic or aggressive behavior, placing themselves and the public in danger. Wild animals should be left in the wild, where they can behave as they have evolved over millions of years.
In RooRoo’s case, his left arm was broken in Florida, either during training or transportation. Despite treatment of the arm, a massive infection set in. By the time the traveling animal act reached Texas, the owners knew RooRoo would no longer be of use in the act and though despondent, left him at the clinic to be euthanized.
The clinic veterinarian knew that RooRoo’s infected limb was life threatening, but instead of euthanizing the kangaroo as expected, the veterinarian amputated the arm. RooRoo recovered nicely, and since he had already stopped using his injured arm, he adapted well without it.
He arrived at Black Beauty when the ranch already sheltered a wallaroo, which is an Australian marsupial between the size of the larger kangaroo and the smaller wallaby. RooRoo and his smaller cousin got along well. Although his wallaroo companion has since died, RooRoo shares a 30-acre enclosure with many other animals, including deer, llamas, alpaca, and a South American tapir. The enclosure has fields, woods, ponds, and a heated shelter for those rare (in Texas) cold, winter days and nights.
RooRoo no longer endures the travel required of life on the road. He can often be seen hopping quickly along through the tall grass of his pen or standing under the trees with his other Australian pals, three emus. In the right light on a warm day, the ranch’s Texas terrain resembles their native Australian outback.