University of Houston Announces School’s Live Cougar Mascot Has Died

by Dustin Schutte

The University of Houston released some sad news on Friday. The school’s live cougar mascot, Shasta VI, passed away at the age of 10.

Houston released a statement on Shasta VI’s passing on Friday morning. He died on Thursday after suffering from an illness. He had been the school’s first live mascot since 1989.

“We are sad to announce that Shasta VI passed away on Thursday, August 4 after a brief and sudden illness,” the school said. “He represented the spirit and tenacity of UH’s students and alumni, and personified the resilience and strength of the University.”

The school revealed that the Houston Zoo’s veterinary team had been treating the animal for progressive spinal disease for several months. His health deteriorated over the past several days.

When Shasta VI arrived in Houston as a cub. He was adopted when his mother was illegally killed by a hunter in Washington state.

“For the past 10 years, Shasta VI played a pivotal role in cherished traditions,” the school said. “Each fall and spring, he guarded the rings of hundreds of hard-working and accomplished UH students. All of the rings would be placed in a UH-themed box, which would spend the day in Shasta’s habitat.”

Baylor University’s Live Mascot Also Died This Summer

The University of Houston isn’t the only school experiencing the loss of a live mascot this summer. Baylor University also lost its live bear mascot, Judge Joy Reynolds.

Joy died at the age of 21. The school named the bear after the wife of the university’s 11th president, Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds.

“One of Baylor’s treasured North American Black Bears, Joy will forever be remembered as an enduring symbol of Baylor’s spirit and tradition,” the school said in a statement. “From the moment she arrived on the Baylor campus as a rambunctious four-month-old cub, Joy captured the hearts of students, alumni, faculty and staff and more than 250,000 campus visitors a year.”

Joy has a sister, Lady. In 2021, the two bears made college football history, becoming the first live mascots to send a tweet, thanks to paw-friendly technology.