Cougar cubs make public debut at Houston Zoo, including University of Houston mascot Shasta VII

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Friday, February 17, 2023
Cougar cubs, including UH Shasta VII, make public debut at Houston Zoo
There's no better way to celebrate Cougar Red Friday! After growing bigger and stronger behind the scenes, UH mascot Shasta VII and his brother Louie are ready to meet the public!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- University of Houston students and alumnus, you can finally see cougar cub Shasta VII and his brother Louie in person at the Houston Zoo!

The two cougar cubs, who were rescued from Washington State after a rancher found them orphaned on his property, have been spending the last couple months growing bigger and stronger behind the scenes.

But now, they're ready to meet the public and have been moved into a temporary home where visitors at the zoo can see them across from the black bears.

The community is invited to go and see the cubs starting at 9:30 a.m. Friday. UH students can get in free with an online reservation and their Cougar Card.

READ MORE: Houston Zoo welcomes 2 cougar cubs, including new mascot, Shasta VII, for University of Houston

There will also be a special Cougar Keeper chat to talk about the special relationship between the big cats and the University of Houston, the zoo said.

The orphaned cubs were found three months after the university mourned the death of Shasta VI from progressive spinal disease. Not long after, Shasta VI's companion, Haley, also passed from kidney illness. Both illnesses are common in older cats.

The two male cubs were an estimated 4 weeks old when they were found in October, making it unlikely that they would have survived on their own.

In the past, former Shastas played a pivotal role in cherished university traditions, including guarding the rings of the graduating classes, as well as the students who have recently received their class rings. All of the rings were placed in a UH-themed box, which would spend the day in Shasta's habitat.

Throughout the years, UH and the zoo have partnered to celebrate special occasions, such as Shasta's birthday parties and live appearances via webcam at UH football games.

SEE ALSO: Houston Zoo cougar cubs carry on University of Houston ring guarding tradition