Lucy the Bearcat, Former University of Cincinnati Mascot, Dies After Battle with Cancer

Beloved bearcat Lucy was euthanized at the Cincinnati Zoo on Wednesday after a yearlong battle with cancer. She retired from public life in 2019.

click to enlarge Lucy the bearcat and caregiver Eddie Annal - Photo: Cassandre Crawford/Cincinnati Zoo
Photo: Cassandre Crawford/Cincinnati Zoo
Lucy the bearcat and caregiver Eddie Annal

Lucy the bearcat, the University of Cincinnati's longtime and beloved living mascot, was euthanized at the Cincinnati Zoo on Wednesday after a yearlong battle with cancer. The zoo says the decision was hard, but humane. 

Michelle Curley, the zoo's communications director, shared a message sent to members:

Lucy was well known to Zoo visitors and students on the University of Cincinnati campus, where she attended more than 200 games in her role as bearcat ambassador from 2008 – 2019 (rookie bearcat Lucille stepped in as ambassador in 2019). After retiring from campus life, Lucy enjoyed spending time in her tree limb-filled habitat eating her favorite foods and spending time with her caregivers. She was always excited to see one person in particular. She had a special connection with Eddie Annal, who accompanied her to UC’s campus for more than a decade and continued to care for her after retirement. Please keep Eddie and the rest of the care team in your thoughts on this difficult day. 

UC also remembered Lucy in a post on the school's Instagram page, calling her an ambassador for her species.

After Lucy retired in August 2019, a new baby bearcat named Lucille took on the role of UC's living mascot. Lucille is the fourth bearcat to act as the school's mascot; Lucy was the third. 

Bearcats are neither bears nor cats; they are binturongs, which the zoo says belong to the mongoose and civet family. They are native to South and Southeast Asia, smell like buttered popcorn and their lifespan is 17 years. WLWT reports Lucy was 13 at the time of her death.  

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