Auburn to transition from Nova to Aurea at halftime of Saturday’s game

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Amanda Sweeney, a student volunteer with Auburn’s Southeastern Raptor Center, holds golden eagle Aurea that will fly over Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall along with bald eagle Spirit.

It’s official, Auburn University has named Aurea as War Eagle VIII.

The action came at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting on Friday. As Aurea was elevated to lead mascot role, famed golden eagle Nova, War Eagle VII, was retired.

A ceremony marking the transition will be held at halftime of Saturday’s football game with Samford University.

“Nova has brought much attention to wildlife conservation and is treasured by the Auburn Family and countless fans and conservationists across the country,” Interim President Jay Gogue said.

Twenty-year-old Nova has been sidelined from pregame flights since 2017 due to cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart, according to the university. In October it was revealed his heart condition had worsened.

“The plan to retire Nova and name Aurea was already underway when we received the test results,” said Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We will take every precaution with Nova who has been an instrumental part of our Southeastern Raptor Center’s educational programs, even since being sidelined from flying at games.”

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