Natural Goal: Amazing Animal Mascots Of The FIFA World Cup

Zakumi – South Africa, 2010

Natural Goal: Amazing Animal Mascots Of The FIFA World Cup

Zak it to me, now with vuvuzelas! While the massed decibel onslaught of the horrific massed horns was perhaps the only legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa from June 11th through July 11th of 2010, the event did have an animal mascot. Does anyone remember Zakumi, an anthropomorphised African leopard with green hair? C’mon folks, it was only four years ago. Poor Zakumi, whose name derives from the international abbreviation for South Africa combined with “kumi”, meaning “ten”, was seemingly too short on cute catlike charm to make the leap to pop culture immortality. (image via Saadick Dhansay)

Fuleco – Brazil, 2014

Natural Goal: Amazing Animal Mascots Of The FIFA World Cup

Last and latest, we have Fuleco, a Brazilian three-banded armadillo who wears a white T-shirt that reads “Brasil 2014.” The name Fuleco is a portmanteau combining the words “Futebol” and “Ecologia”. The latter is a point of concern, as Brazilian three-banded armadillos are considered to be an endangered species and the anthropomorphic cuteness of the mascot may tempt many to “adopt” the real creature. Psst folks… it didn’t work with Harry Potter and owls, it won’t work with wild three-banded armadillos. Just sayin’. (image via Magharebia)