Should LSU send their live mascot into retirement?

Geaux Nation

A petition 65,000-plus signatures strong is demanding that LSU send its famous tiger to a sanctuary and end its tradition of live-in mascots.

The petition, started by California-based website Care2, includes comments from signers around the country.

  • Susan R. from California: “Mediveal [sic] notions of ‘human entertainment’ such as live tiger mascots belong to history. This university is damaging its ethical and educational credentials.”
  • Vitoria V. from Nevada: “No animal, endangered or not, should be used as a school mascot. We no longer live in the 19th century.”
  • Mary F. from Mississippi: “Release Mike now. Just give him an honorary degree and let him have a great life elsewhere.”

LSU has had a live mascot since 1936. Its current tiger, Mike VII, was adopted last August from a wildlife center in Okeechobee, Florida, where he awaited either purchase or death.

University officials moved the Bengal-Siberian hybrid into a $3 million habitat built in 2005. It includes lush paintings, a rockwork tree, a waterfall and a stream that empties into a wading pond. Personnel from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine feed him a carnivore diet that includes beef, soy, fish, vegetables and eggs.

Mike VII is one of two live tiger mascots in the nation. The other, Tom III, lives at the University of Memphis.

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