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LSU’s Mike VII is a Powerful Symbol for Endangered Tigers

Mike VII kicked off his second season by setting the tone for LSU before a roaring victory vs. Miami in Week 1.

While Mike VII is a joy to have on LSU’s campus, the biggest priority when acquiring was his well-being.

“It’s a very serious business to be acquiring an animal on the endangered species list—especially an apex predator,” LSU attending veterinarian Dr. David Baker said.

Only 2,500 Bengal tiger remain in the wild, compared to as much as 7,000 in the United States living in captivity or as exotic pets according to Garden and Gun.

Mike VII arrived from a Florida sanctuary forced to downsize. Now he’s being well taken care of close to Tiger Stadium at a 15,000-square-foot habitat, that has a waterfall and pool, as well as synthetic rocks which can be warmed or cooled, and a superb greenspace.

Unlike past LSU tigers, Mike VII doesn’t attend football games because of increasing focus on health.

“If it’s best for Mike, then it’s best for LSU,” Baker said. “Imagine having a large party in your backyard with lots of people and music—you won’t see your cat for a week. That was Mike on the field.”

Mike VII’s absence from the sidelines doesn’t make him any less of an influential figure in the hearts of LSU fans.

“I’ll be talking to grown men who went to LSU and I can’t have a conversation with them without them tearing up, because Mike means so much to the community,” Baker said. “Mike reminds people of everything good they remember about LSU—and there’s a lot of good to remember.”