Sir Roger developed a condition known as ‘musth’ when he was about 27 years old.
This is caused by the flow of a secretion called
temporin from the elephant's temporal gland. This can often be painful
and lead to unpredictable bad temper and aggression.
During musth, elephants that are normally quiet and calm may try to kill humans.
The musth made Sir Roger extremely dangerous to
handle. He started to attack the zoo staff who looked after him. He attacked his keeper,
breaking an arm and several of his ribs.
Eventually Sir Roger would allow no one near him. His food had to be thrown to him and his drinking water put down when he wasn't looking.
It was also impossible to get into his enclosure to clean it out. The smell from the musth and the accumulating dung became extremely offensive.
Sir Roger's menacing attitude to visitors was also giving cause for concern. So the zoo reluctantly decided to humanely destroy him.
Arrangements were made with a Glasgow gunsmith who had an elephant gun, and with some soldiers with ordinary rifles to come to the zoo.
On 6th December 1900 their volley killed the elephant instantly.