Houston Zoo Welcomes Orphaned Cougar Cubs as New University Mascots

A pair of cougar cubs found alone by a rancher in Washington have settled into their new home in Texas, the Houston Zoo said.

Named Shasta VII and Louie, the two male cougars were found orphaned at four weeks old, and were likely not to survive if left on their own, the zoo said.

In partnership with the University of Houston Alumni Association, the new cougars will “be ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild while faithfully representing the cougar spirit of the University of Houston from their home at the Houston Zoo.”

Shasta VII will be the new live mascot for the University of Houston, whose previous zoo-residing mascot, Shasta VI, died in August.

In a press release, the zoo wrote that the young Shasta has “shown himself to be the leader of the two by being protective of his smaller brother and being the calmer, more confident cub. Shasta often sleeps or rests with a paw over Louie.”

The zoo said the young cubs would be kept behind the scenes for several weeks while they got accustomed to their caretakers and new environment. Credit: Kevin Kendrick/Houston Zoo via Storyful

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