Our newest male cougar came to us from Washington State in early December of 2011. Like many of our animals that reside at The Houston Zoo, our new cougar now serves as an ambassador for his species in our newly renovated cougar exhibit. However, unlike his counterparts in the wild, this little cub has a very special job. He’s now the official mascot for the University of Houston! Thanks to a new partnership with The University of Houston Alumni Association, Shasta VI will make live appearances during UH events via webcam and, most importantly, guard UH senior rings before the class ring ceremony.

The road Shasta took to get here began a bit rocky.  His mother was shot by a hunter, leaving Shasta and his two brothers orphans. Thankfully, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife stepped in after a good samaritan was able to save one of the cubs, and the search began for Shasta VI and his brother.  The second brother was found, but little Shasta still proved elusive, so the search team came up with an inventive plan.  In the wild, cougars make chirping sounds to communicate with one another. A biologist helping with the rescue imitated this ‘chirp’, and was relieved to hear a chirp in response. Other than being hungry and thirsty, our little guy was safe, and made the trip to the Houston Zoo.

At the Houston Zoo, Shasta VI lives in safety and comfort with his fellow cougar Haley, exploring the heights of his exhibit and observing Zoo guests. On Saturday, March 24, from 10:30-12:00 join us at the cougar exhibit as we officially introduce Shasta and announce all the details of this new partnership between The Houston Zoo and The University of Houston Alumni Association! Show up in UH gear and receive half-price admission! UH students get in FREE with a student ID. We’ll see you there!

18 Responses to “A Cougar Tale”

  1. James Yaklin says:

    I so very excited about this partnership between the Houston Zoo and the University of Houston. I have always felt that this would be a perfect arrangement.

    It is also good to see that little Shasta is a survivor just like our University of Houston Cougars.

    Go Coogs!

  2. Stephanie says:

    YAY! So glad to see that UH Alumni has partnered w the Zoo! I have been suggesting it for years! Maybe I will finally donate to the Alumni Org now!
    Next up Rice partners for the Owl exhibit…

  3. r. machado says:


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