A 12-foot-tall bronze statue on the University of Arizona campus depicting four bobcats — a male, a female and two kittens — and benches near the sculpture were covered with yellow spray paint and the letters “ASU” Monday morning.

The vandalism comes just days before the rivalry football game between the UA and Arizona State University.

The artwork, called “The Arizona Wildcat Family,” shows four bobcats lounging together. The sculpture has been up for about a decade on the Alumni Plaza between the Administration Building and the Mall.

The sculpture was created by Tubac artist Nicholas Wilson, who noted soon after it was commissioned that while a male wildcat, or bobcat, wouldn’t be found traveling as part of a nuclear family unit, the sculpture is symbolic of the university family.

The statue, which sits south of the Administration Building, is dedicated to former UA President Peter Likins and his wife, Pat.

Someone reported the vandalism to UA Facilities Management at about 8 a.m. Monday.

A powerwasher and a chemical solution were used to remove the graffiti from the statue, and no permanent damage was done, said Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of facilities management at the UA.

Police believe the graffiti was done sometime between 3 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

The UA Police Department plans to do more frequent checks of UA landmarks like the stadium, McKale Center and the bust of John “Button” Salmon throughout the week.

Last week, the white hillside “A” in Tempe was covered in red paint.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.