UNA’s Live African Lions Ranked No. 1 NCAA Real College Mascots
Sep. 12, 2012
FLORENCE, Ala. – The two 9-year-old African lions living on the University of North Alabama’s campus may not know it, but they gained national recognition this week when ranked No. 1 of the 25 Best Real Animal Mascots in College Football by totalprosports.com. UNA was the only non-Division I institution to make the list, joining the company of competitive NCAA teams such as the Baylor Bears, LSU Tigers and Texas Longhorns.
Siblings Leo III and Una live in the 12,764-square-foot George H. Carroll secure lion habitat on campus beside the President’s Home. The $35,000 required annually to feed and care for them is funded through private donations.
The lion has been UNA’s mascot for nearly 40 years, since the original Leo was adopted by the UNA family in 1974. UNA’s remains the only campus in the country to house live lions.
Leo II was introduced to the nation in 1997 when voted Second Best Mascot by Sports Illustrated.
Leo III and Una see hundreds of visitors weekly and make appearances on the sidelines of home football games, the annual Homecoming parade and other special events.
For a complete listing of the mascot rankings, visit totalsports.com.
IMAGES AVAILABLE: JPG images of Leo III and Una, suitable for publication, may be downloaded from the UNA Photo Archives.