BATON ROUGE, La. — One LSU tradition will live on, but another has been passed into the annals of history. The school announced that it plans to conclude its search for a new live tiger mascot, Mike VII, by August. However, the new Mike will not be rolled into Tiger Stadium in a cage prior to home games, bringing an end to a decades-old tradition.
As stated in an official release from the school:
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.
LSU’s goal with the new Mike is to be accredited as an official 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 longevity and ethical management of the LSU tiger mascot program,” the official release noted.
Mike VII will be donated from an animal sanctuary. His predecessor died in September, ending a reign that began in 2007.
The tradition of a live tiger mascot at LSU dates to 1936. Mike would be rolled around the field in his trailer before games before being parked in front of the visiting locker room. That tradition was already being scaled back with Mike VI, who was only wheeled around the stadium when he entered the trailer on a “voluntary” basis.