AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University is retiring its 20-year-old golden eagle mascot two years after it was grounded from flying at football games because of heart disease.
A university statement issued Friday says the bird named Nova is being replaced by another golden eagle named Aurea that will become War Eagle VIII.
A ceremony marking the transition is planned for Auburn’s home football game against Samford University on Saturday. Nova has been sidelined since 2017 after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which is a chronic heart disease.
A statement by veterinarian Seth Oster says Nova will mostly be restricted to presentations at the university’s raptor center.
Aurea is a 5-year-old female with a more than 6.5-foot (1.9-meter) wingspan. Aurea was brought to the raptor center in 2016 with an injured wing.