LSU is looking for Mike VII, the next in a line of live tiger mascots that have been a staple of LSU athletics for decades. LSU's last live mascot, Mike VI, died in Oct. 16 after a cancer diagnosis. He, like Mike V and Mike IV, was donated to LSU from rescue facilities, which means the school is now undergoing its first search for a tiger since 1956.
A lot has changed regarding the treatment of exotic animals since then, and LSU has evolved its practices and renovated the tiger's habitat through the decades. On Thursday, the school announced that Mike VII, once identified by LSU's attending veterinarian, will join the freshman class in August 2017 after its habitat undergoes renovations, which are set to begin in April.
LSU has also decided to shut down the practice of bringing Mike to football games.
"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," a statement released by the school read. "By having Mike in his yard on game days, it ensures that fans are able to see him throughout the day."
Though the live tiger mascot has been a part of LSU football lore in Tiger Stadium, Mike VI made fewer appearances in recent years due to his health issues. According to SB Nation's LSU site, the McNeese State game in 2015, eventually canceled and never rescheduled, was the last time Mike the Tiger was in the building.