(ANIMAL MASCOTS/PICTURES OF ANIMALS) The University of Southern California (USC) college football team fell to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on their home turf this Saturday. While back-to-back upsets by UCLA was the last thing to be expected, the real shock came at the tail-end of every USC scoring drive.
USC is recognized by their Troy-themed traditions—the trademark of which is their mascot, a rare pure white Andalusian horse named Traveler.
The original Traveler first made his appearance in USC’s 1961 home opener versus Georgia Tech. Ever since, whenever USC scores, the band plays “Conquest” and Traveler gallops around the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The current Trojan mascot is Traveler VII. Even though the breed of horse may have changed over the years—Travelers I through VI ranged from an Arabian/Tennessee Walker to a pure-bred Tennessee Walker to a pure-bred Arabian to an Andalusian—Traveler’s color has always remained pure white.
Officials at PETA have campaigned against the use of live animals as collegiate mascots for years, with great emphasis on the shock that comes along with constantly being surrounded by hoards of screaming fans. Their use as “entertainment figures” has essentially deprived them of their natural freedom and innate right to roam unhindered.
“Even if they are bred in captivity, they retain their wild instincts and can be very dangerous around people,” Mike Markarian, executive vice president says. “It’s also inhumane in many cases when people cannot provide them with the habitat or care that they need.“
The simple remedy, according to Hauff, is already exemplified on the vast majority of college campuses, including USC’s crosstown rival—simply place an enthusiastic student inside a furry suit.
“We believe that costumed mascots are undeniably the most effective ambassadors for their teams,” Hauff says.
“Human mascots are a lot more versatile than animal mascots, which can’t interact directly with the crowd, attend charity functions, visit hospitals and do other things that human mascots can.
And clearly it’s someone in the costume who has chosen to be there and who understands the situation, which is entirely different than some animal that’s caged and then dragged out for people’s enjoyment.“
USC is not the only university to parade around a live mascot at football games, but it may be one of the few that do not also have a costumed mascot available. Check out these top 25 most famous live college mascots in the photo gallery below.
Leo III and Una (North Alabama) live on campus in the George H. Carroll Lion Habitat—a 12,000 square foot climate controlled facility that cost $1.3 million to build and $35,000 annually to maintain. Photo Credit: unapride.com
Mike VI (LSU), a bengal tiger, is confined within a cage throughout the duration of the football game. He lives in a 15,000 square foot habitat built in 2005 at a cost of $3 million. Photo Credit: totalprosports.com
TOM (Memphis), an acronym for Tigers of Memphis, becomes the name of whichever captive Tiger Memphis brings to their next game. Photo Credit: commercialappeal.com
Judge Sue "Lady" Sloane (Baylor) is an American Black Bear held in captivity. The school also has a costumed mascot...why not just use one? Photo Credit: grantland.com
Ralphie the Buffalo (University of Colorado) is actually a female due to the belief that they are "more docile" than their male counterparts. Ralphie is paraded around the field after scoring drives. Photo Credit: blogspot.com
Bevo XIV (Texas) is a longhorn steer. Previous Bevos were notorious for causing chaos like attacking the band, cheerleaders, or even getting loose and chasing down cars. Photo Credit: pinimg.com
Tusk III (Arkansas) is a Russian Boar whom is put into a cardinal red holding pen which travels through the crowds, with the cheerleaders on the upper level. Photo Credit: totalprosports.com
Sir Big Spur (South Carolina) is an Old English red-breasted black gamecock owned by two loyal fans who bring him to every game-even away. Photo Credit: pinimg.com
Uga VIII (Georgia), an English bulldog, is one of college football's most famous mascots. Mostly because he attacked one of the opposing players during a very intense game. Photo Credit: leo-wells-on-sports.com
Blue II (Butler), an English bulldog, recently passed away due to congestive heart failure. He was Butler's school mascot for his entire life. Photo Credit: nj.com
Bully the Bulldog (Mississippi State) is yet another addition to the list of schools with live bulldog mascots. They also have a costumed mascot...do you see where I'm going here? Photo Credit: bleacherreport.net
War Eagle (Auburn) is not even the college's official mascot (they're Tigers), but their famous chant has led to the adoption of this captive bald eagle who takes flight before every home game. Photo Credit: thewareaglereader.com
The Falcon (Air Force Academy) is trained and handled by cadet falconers. They fly around the stadium before every home game, sometimes zooming low over the heads of spectators. Photo Credit: csgazette.biz
Stryker & Ranger III (Army)
are both Mules adopted by West Point to serve as mascots during football games. They spent 4 years being conditioned at the U.S. Naval Academy. Photo Credit: flickr.com
Bill the Goat (Navy) is one of the successors to the original "Three-to-Nothing Jack Dalton" whose skin is mounted in the foyer of the Academy's Halsey Field House. Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
Rameses (North Carolina) gets his horns painted powder blue for each public appearance. A costumed mascot is also used. Photo Credit: indyweek.com
CAM the Ram (Colorado State) is a bighorn sheep. The 22nd CAM runs at the beginning and at half time during home football games. Currently, there are eight Ram Handlers that take care of him. Photo Credit: townnews.com
Boomer & Sooner (Oklahoma)
are two Welsh ponies that pull the Sooner Schooner, a Conestoga wagon across the field when the football team scores. Photo Credit: kccollegegameday.com
Peruna VIII (SMU) is a Shetland Pony that lives on a Dallas-area ranch. To date, nine mascots have represented SMU…7 stallions and 2 mares. Photo Credit: smu.edu
Reveille VIII (Texas A&M) is a Collie. Upon her death, each Reveille is buried in a special cemetery located outside the north end of Kyle Field equipped with an electronic scoreboard so that they always know the score. Photo Credit: blogspot.com
Welles (Boston College) is owned by the World Bird Sanctuary. The 9-year-old bald eagle is the school's first live mascot since 1966, and PETA's current target for salvation Photo Credit: boston.com
Dubs (Washington) is the Alaskan Malamute mascot for the Huskies. He has his own blog online, and is the live counterpart to his costumed friend, Harry the Husky. Photo Credit: pinimg.com
Handsome Dan (Yale) was the first live mascot in America. The English bulldog is selected based on his ability to tolerate bands and children, negative reaction to the color crimson and to tigers. There have been 17 to date, all of which accompany a costumed mascot. Photo Credit: yale.edu
Smokey X (Tennessee) is a Bluetick Coonhound that leads the Vols on the field during football games. He too is accompanied by a costumed Smokey. Photo Credit: gannett-cdn.com
Traveler VII (USC) is a pure white Andalusian horse that appears at all USC home football games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as well as many other outdoor events, including numerous Rose Parades. Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com