“Mascot”, according to Wikipedia, means any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck and that represents a group with a common public identity such as a school, professional sports team, society, non profit organization, or zoo. For this Friday File I thought you might like to ‘meet’ a few friendly mascots.
Among NGO’s, the World Wildlife Fund’s Panda Bear is likely the best known logo/mascot. Chosen in 1961 when WWF was started, the panda was selected in honor of Chi Chi, who lived at the London Zoo and was the only giant panda in the Western world at that time. You can see how WWF’s logo changed through the years on their website. The Panda’s most recent appearance was lounging in a chair on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill as part of the G8/G20 Global Day of Action, urging world leaders to act on climate change at the G8/G20 summit that is scheduled for Ontario later this month.
Other mascots also carry important messages, such as the blue drop that supports water conservation for the Whatcom Water Alliance. The Alliance is a regional group in Washington state that promotes water conservation by coordinating public information and related conservation activities. It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest – so the mascot is named Wayne Drop! He has an online photo gallery of his time at Discovery Days.
Just north of the border, the Vancouver Aquarium has a beluga whale mascot named Bee Bop. The Aquarium is proud to be home to several beluga whales, and offer visitors a chance to get close to them. A Beluga Encounter is an interactive experience that offers a view into beluga communication, while visiting the animals in the behind-the-scenes marine mammal habitat.
Mascots sometimes party together. Gordo, the Royal Ontario Museum’s dino mascot, and the Toronto Zoo’s Explorer Bear joined Toronto Public Library’s Dewey Decimal mascot in a public appearance together earlier this Spring. They were announcing the expansion of the popular Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass Program (MAP).
Overseas, mascots can be found in a wide range of animals including gazelles, parrots, cockatoos and other mostly attractive species. The value of flagship species and adorable mascots would make this article too long, so suffice it to say that Time Magazine got it right on in their recent article about why Madagascar needs a mascot.
Do you have a favorite mascot that you’d like everyone to know about?