On June 5, I received an email from Sharon Glaeser at the Oregon Zoo. In part, she wrote:
“I have a tribute to Roger to share with you. We finally published our long-term study on our bulls … In our long list of thanks over 25+ years, Bob and I wrote this for Roger:
Heartfelt thanks to Roger Henneous, whose devotion and compassion inspired generations of elephant care professionals to observe their animals more closely, to listen and to learn from them, and advocate for them.
With my grief journey settling into simply missing and appreciating, I finally felt ready to read your remarkable biography of Roger. Boy, I laughed and cried and smiled and sighed, and many times simply held my hand to my heart. I am so grateful to you and Roger for sharing his story. What courage that took.“
The courage was all Roger’s…and I thank you, Sharon and Bob, your team of researchers, and all those who continue to advocate for elephants across the globe. Thank you for remembering him and acknowledging his contribution to the field.
Roger never tooted his own horn, and often felt he’d done too little for the elephants even when he’d done everything humanely possible. Truth is, following in the footsteps of mentor Alvin Tucker, he raised the barre of elephant care.
If he were here, I’d know he’d give out with one of those low-throat growls of his and mutter, “You all need to have your heads examined.”