Anthro armadillo 'Fuleco' picked as 2014 World Cup mascot
Brazilians cast almost 1.7 million votes in choosing Fuleco, an anthropomorphic three-banded armadillo, as the mascot for the 2014 FIFA World Cup games (soccer). A fursuited mascot is featured in the BBC's TV coverage.
As one of the most high-profile ambassadors of the event and a member of a vulnerable species, the Official Mascot can play a key role in driving environmental awareness. The name Fuleco™ is a fusion of the words “futebol” and “ecologia”. This seamlessly represents the way in which the FIFA World Cup™ can combine the two to encourage people to behave in an environmentally friendly way. In voting for the name Fuleco™, the Brazilian population has clearly demonstrated an affinity for both themes that the name epitomises. (press release)
But while Brazilians approve of the armadillo as a mascot, the way the name was chosen – a three-way online poll – is less popular. Over 23,000 signed a petition requesting a "more democratic" process, with some asking for a name featuring the vulnerable species itself.
48% chose Fuleco as the name. The other choices, whittled down from a list of 450, were Zuzeco (31%) and Amijubi (21%), representing the themes azul (blue) and ecologia (ecology), and amizade (friendship) and jubilo (joy).