Introducing Mike VII

New mascot arrives for start of semester

LSU welcomed approximately 5,500 incoming freshmen to start their first official day of school Monday.

And one tiger.

The 11-month-old Siberian-Bengal cat formerly known as “Harvey” became Mike VII when he was released into and  free to roam his newly remodeled habitat early Monday morning.

“He’s officially Mike the Tiger,” said Dr. David Baker, the LSU mascot’s attending veterinarian.

Mike VII quickly drew a crowd of onlookers on the first day of classes at school.

Like most of the new students, the new mascot actually arrived on campus last week, still going by the name Harvey that he was given while living at the Wild at Heart Wildlife Center in Okeechobee, Fla.

But he was kept quarantined in the indoor night room while the LSU veterinary staff observed him to ensure that he was healthy and a good fit for his new surroundings.

After passing muster, he took the name Mike VII and the public had their first look when he was released into his wide open surroundings.

The tiger acclimated well to his surroundings, according to Baker.

Baker said Mike’s daily schedule will be to let him out into his yard by 8 a.m. each day and be back in his night house by 8 p.m.

Mike VII continues a tradition that began in 1936 when students raised money to buy a tiger from the Little Rock, Ark., zoo.

But, like all the successors since Mike IV in 1976, this mascot was donated from a rescue facility.

LSU, which has come under fire in the past from PETA, says that by providing a home for a tiger that needs one, the school hopes to raise awareness about the problem of irresponsible breeding and the plight of tigers kept illegally.

LSU plans to hold a formal welcome event for Mike VII, with more details to come.

””

Louisiana State University officially has a new live tiger mascot on its campus. The tiger arrived in Baton Rouge last week, coming from a rescue facility in Okeechobee, Fla. The university announced in a statement that the tiger began its “reign” as Mike VII on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, the first day of the fall semester. He is an 11-month-old male Siberian-Bengal mix. (John Ballance/The Advocate via AP)

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