HOUSTON – Shasta VI, the University of Houston’s spirited mascot, has passed away due to progressive spinal disease on Thursday, the school announced. He was 10 years old.
According to the university on their Facebook page, Shasta VI “represented the spirit and tenacity of UH’s students and alumni, and personified the resilience of the University.”
Shasta VI moved to the Houston Zoo as a five-week-old cub after his mother was illegally killed by a hunter in 2011. Since then, he served as the university’s first live mascot since Shasta V in 1989, according to the university. He also became part of UH’s beloved traditions such as guarding the students’ class rings inside his habitat
The Houston Zoo is also in mourning.
“We’re grieving the passing of our beloved Cougar, Shasta. Our vet team has been treating him for a progressive spinal disease which has recently rapidly deteriorated,” the Zoo said on Twitter.
The Zoo added that Shasta was also being treated for declining kidney function, which is common in older felines.
“Our team made a comprehensive assessment and made the difficult decision to euthanize him when it became clear that he wouldn’t recover,” they said.
Our team made a comprehensive assessment & made the difficult decision to euthanize him when it became clear that he wouldn’t recover. Shasta has been a cherished member of our Zoo family & @UHouston icon for over a decade. We're all saddened by this loss. https://t.co/5eDJ5HTOF3 pic.twitter.com/WBITNFvotQ— Houston Zoo (@houstonzoo) August 5, 2022