BATON ROUGE – David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., LSU’s Attending Veterinarian, has identified a tiger at a rescue facility that could become Mike VII. This juvenile, male rescue tiger is currently 9 months old and weighs approximately 160 pounds. The tiger has both Siberian and Bengal characteristics.
Starting in April 2017, LSU’s tiger habitat began undergoing updates, which are scheduled to be completed in August. The tiger cannot be transported to LSU until the updates are complete. The current plan is to have the tiger arrive mid-August. Once the tiger arrives, he will be kept in the night house for approximately one week for quarantine and acclimation; he will not be visible to the public during this time. If the quarantine/acclimation period goes well, the tiger will be released into his yard, at which time he will be declared Mike VII. LSU will announce in advance the day and time that the tiger will be out in his yard for the first time.
LSU cannot state at this time exactly when the tiger will arrive or when he will be introduced to the LSU community, as these details depend upon construction completion, travel arrangements and the quarantine/acclimation period.
This young tiger is in need of a new home. He currently resides at a sanctuary formerly known as “Animal Adventures” in Okeechobee, Fla.; this facility has undergone a change in ownership and is now “Wild at Heart Wildlife Center.” In an effort to improve the facility and operation, and reestablish compliance with state and federal animal care regulations, the new owner has initiated several improvements, including reducing the number of resident animals, requiring many of its animals to be sent elsewhere. This tiger is being donated to LSU by this facility.
Mikes IV, V and VI were all donated to LSU from rescue facilities. LSU has not purchased a tiger since Mike III in 1958, and LSU does not support the for-profit breeding of tigers. By providing a home for a tiger from a rescue facility that needs one, LSU hopes to raise awareness about the problem of irresponsible breeding 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 programs are inspected annually to ensure that they are in compliance with the Federal Animal Welfare Act and other USDA policies and guidelines.
LSU is also pursuing accredited sanctuary status. Whether LSU eventually obtains official tiger sanctuary status or not, LSU will function as a tiger sanctuary for an animal in need. Accreditation is not necessary for LSU to obtain a tiger.
This and other information on LSU’s tigers can be found online at www.lsu.edu/mikethetiger. You can follow Mike on facebook (www.facebook.com/mikethetiger), Twitter (@mikethetiger) and Instagram (@MikeTigerVI).
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.