Campus Life

New Baby Bearcat and Her Big Shoes to Fill

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Have you ever wondered what the daily life of a baby bearcat looks like? For Lucille, one of the newest additions to the Cincinnati zoo, it looks like a day full of fun. Born on Sept. 12, 2019, Lucille has some big shoes to fill as she has recently adopted the vacant role of University of Cincinnati mascot from her predecessor, Lucy, who retired in August 2019.

“There is definitely a process to get her acclimated to a very loud, very stimulating sports event,” says Sarah Swanson, Lucille’s trainer and Team Leader for the Interpretive Collection at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Just recently, though, we have changed her routine, so she can begin to understand what her role is in our Zoo and community.”

Lucille’s training team wanted to ensure she was familiar with Firth Third Arena, where she’ll spend most of her time on campus. They brought Lucille to marching band practices, as well as cheerleading and basketball practices so she could understand the sounds and smells before she was in front of a stimulating crowd.

From waking up at 7 a.m. until lights out at 8 p.m., Lucille’s day is accounted for. She eats three meals, naps, has sessions with her trainers, and even has some play time. Her favorite snacks are bananas and sweet potato baby food. Her training consists of learning how to come to her trainers, shouldering, collaring, and crating. These are all essential actions she must perfect to be at big university events. “Lucille is very smart and picks up on the cues and behaviors very quickly,” says Swanson. 

Lucille is a Palawan binturong, a subspecies of the larger Arctictis binturong, which is what Lucy the former UC Bearcat, is. Lucille is expected to weigh 20-30 pounds when she is fully grown, whereas Lucy weighs 40 pounds. Binturongs are omnivorous animals, and spend much of their time in the trees, using their strong tails to balance themselves. Unfortunately, these animals are considered vulnerable and even endangered around the world. 

Lucille attended her firstUC basketball game February 12. Swanson and her other trainers moved at her own pace, and she was finally ready to face the crowd. Keep an eye out for Lucille at future sporting events and be sure to give her a warm welcome to her new role as mascot! 

About Hannah Roberts

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