Baton Rouge, LA (PPN) – Southern University’s beloved 15-year-old jaguar Lacumba II died of natural causes on December 26, 2004. Since that Sunday night 13 years ago, no other Jaguar has lived on the yard in the cage that still sits in front of A.W. Mumford stadium, next to the tennis court.
Southern University was the first HBCU to own a live mascot on campus. The name Lacumba means “Heart of Africa”.
The first Lacumba was born May 26, 1971 and was given to SUBR as a gift from Henry J. Bellaire, president of the 1961 senior class, and alumna Helen Williams. She was purchased for $450 on July 12, 1971 from the Baton Rouge Zoo. Lacumba was retired to Acadiana Zoo on August 16, 1991.
Lacumba II was a special cat born May 12, 1991. The 200-pound cat was the offspring of two rare black jaguars but wasn’t born black as expected.
In 2007, SU planned to build a South American-inspired habitat for its third mascot but only raised only ¼ of the $1.5 million goal in alumni and business donations, according to the AP. Students approved a $2 fee each semester to buy a new mascot and build a habitat but it’s still yet to have been done.
Southern’s mascot Lacumba carries on the legacy. In 2015, the mascot told Jag Nation, “My goal is to be the forefront of spirit.” She was voted Best Mascot in 2014.