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Cincinnati Zoo Euthanizes Retired UC Bearcat Mascot Lucy

Courtesy of University of Cincinnati
Lucy the Bearcat with the UC Bearcat mascot and her handler.

The Cincinnati Zoo Wednesday euthanized its aging binturong, "Lucy the Bearcat."In a message to zoo members, the zoo says Lucy died after a year-long struggle with cancer. Keepers made the "hard but humane decision" to euthanize because of her failing health, spokesperson Michelle Curley writes.

A mainstay at University of Cincinnati sporting events for year, Lucy "retired" in 2019 when her primary caregiver noticed a change in her enthusiasm for getting out and about. Lucy attended more than 200 UC games after taking on the duties of living mascot in 2008. She was the third binturong to serve in the role.

"Today we say goodbye to our old friend Lucy," writes UC in a tweet. "She was an ambassador for the bearcat species and attended more than 200 games at @uofcincy over the past decade."

In a 2019 Facebook post, the zoo wrote, "In her retirement, Lucy will spend more time eating her favorite foods – like grapes, bananas and blackberries – and enjoying daily enrichment activities in her newly expanded indoor/outdoor habitat."

Lucy's successor, "Lucille," arrived in Cincinnati from the Nashville Zoo in October 2019.

Binturongs, or bearcats, are part of the civet family and are native to South and Southeast Asia. They are said to smell like buttered popcorn.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.