Who is Bravo the Bear? The lovable Universiade 2017 mascot

What do a snow leopard, an angel of light, and a Formosan black bear have in common? Well, more than you’d think. These lucky animals have all served as mascots of the Summer Universiade in recent years!

The 2017 Summer Universiade, held in Taipei, has Bravo the Bear as its mascot — a cute but fierce Formosan black bear. Bravo’s species is endemic to Taiwan and currently endangered. With a Formosan black bear as the mascot, Universiade officials hope that they can raise awareness about sustainability, environmental protection, and ecological problems. Bravo’s chest also features the distinctive white stripe in V formation commonly found on Formosan black bears. According to Universiade officials, the V stands for victory and further represents the organizing team’s aspiration for athletes to fight hard for glory.

While the mascot’s species was chosen through an online vote, Bravo’s name also went through a selective process and carries multiple meanings. On the surface, Bravo brings to mind the Italian word used to express approval, but its Taiwanese translation also sounds like the word “brilliant.” By naming the mascot Bravo, Universiade officials hope to bestow on athletes good luck for their successes during the competition.