By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
LSU plans to have a new Mike the Tiger on campus this August — but don’t expect to see Mike VII in the stadium bearing his name any time soon.
The school announced a timeline Thursday for renovations to the tiger habitat that’ll begin in April and are scheduled to be finished by August. LSU is working to have its habitat accredited as a tiger sanctuary.
As part of the release, LSU announced it’s ending the tradition of bringing Mike into Tiger Stadium for football games. It says “LSU has evolved” with the responsible care standards for exotic answers.
Here’s the full release from LSU:
BATON ROUGE – David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., LSU’s attending veterinarian, is continuing to search for a tiger. As with Mike VI, Dr. Baker is seeking a young, male tiger. Starting in April 2017, the tiger habitat will undergo renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in August. Once the renovations are complete, the plan is to have Mike VII join LSU’s incoming freshman class in August.
Responsible care for live exotic animals has evolved throughout the years, and LSU has evolved with it, as evidenced by the renovations to the tiger habitat in 1981 and the construction of an entirely new habitat in 2004-05. In that vein, LSU has decided that the tiger will not go into Tiger Stadium on home football game days. He will be out in his yard seven days a week. By having Mike in his yard on game days, it ensures that fans are able to see him throughout the day.
As further evidence of LSU’s dedication to providing the best, most responsible care for tigers, LSU is working to have the tiger habitat accredited as a tiger sanctuary. Becoming an accredited sanctuary means that LSU has met high standards of excellence in animal care and is operating ethically and responsibly. LSU believes that these changes are in the best interest of the longevity and ethical management of the LSU tiger mascot program.
Mikes IV, V and VI were all donated to LSU from rescue facilities. LSU has not purchased a tiger since Mike III in 1956, and LSU does not support the for-profit breeding of tigers. By becoming an accredited sanctuary, LSU is demonstrating its commitment to worldwide tiger conservation and hopes to raise awareness about the dwindling live tiger population and the plight of tigers kept illegally and/or inappropriately in captivity in the U.S.
The tiger habitat and LSU’s animal care plan are licensed by the USDA. The facility, tiger and animal care program are inspected annually to ensure that the facility and the program are in compliance with the Federal Animal Welfare Act and other USDA policies and guidelines.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 30 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. The LSU SVM is dedicated to improving the lives of people and animals through education, research and service. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.