Free Tiger With Terminal Cancer Imprisoned For College’s Football Games

mike the tiger by Darrell Miller

Target: F. King Alexander, Chancellor of Louisiana State University

Goal: End the use of live tigers as mascots at sporting events.

For the past few years, Louisiana State University (LSU) has been bringing out a live, caged tiger to its football games. The university has gone through six tigers, and its current tiger has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. While the college claims to be providing Mike world class care, this should take place in a sanctuary, not a cage.

Holding wild animals captive is detrimental to their physical and mental health. These animals should be running through the trees, enjoying the sunshine, and engaging in natural behaviors. Instead, these tigers have been carted around for entertainment, confined in small cages, and forced to endure the large, loud crowds of university football games.

It is cruel to continue treating the tiger in this manner. He deserves to have some peace and happiness for his remaining time on earth. Sign this petition and demand LSU retire its tiger and no longer use live animals as mascots.


Dear Mr. Alexander

For years, your university has been using live, caged tigers as the school’s mascot. In the time that you have used live animals, LSU has gone through six tigers. The current tiger has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

It is cruel to continue forcing this tiger to endure long, loud and hectic football games and letting him waste away in a cage. He deserves happiness and freedom in his final days. Please consider sending him to an accredited sanctuary.

Animals in captivity face many problems when it comes to their physical and mental health. It is not fair to use these animals as entertainment and to deny everything that is natural to them. Please consider no longer using live animals as mascots.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Darrell Miller

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  1. jeanne hermansen says:

    Stop, set him free

  2. Natasha polychuk says:

    why are there so many inbred fuckin hicks…………..

  3. Barbara Griffith says:

    I wonder if anyone knows just how this big cat developed cancer in the first place unless the cat was fed horse meat sourced here in the U.S. Even with slaughter plants closed here there are greedy people that buy horses at auctions to slaughter for zoos here in the U.S. Almost all horses raised here are given drugs that help with numerous ailments such as strained muscles etc. The drugs in the horse meat is dangerous if fed to any big zoo cat it can lead to cancers and other ailments. This is the same horse meat that is shipped to Europe for consumers to buy not knowing what is in it. Thousands of U.S. horses are sent out of the U.S to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for their toxic meat to be shipped to Europe every year.
    Killer buyers take their big trucks to almost all auctions in the U.S. and buy up every horse that is for sale if they can which keeps anyone else from buying one
    of the horses to give it a home. The politicians in DC are not interested in putting a stop to this cruelty because they get big donations from the horse breeders and the racing industry to ignore any and all bills introduced to put a stop to shipping U.S. horses to slaughter.

  4. Karen White says:

    As the Chairman of the Board of a foundation dedicated to animal welfare, education and ecology, I am dismayed to think that you don’t know his habitat. Millions of dollars were donated by Louisiana citizens because they love him. This is a state where animal rights are dismal and he has inspired them to view things differently.

    HE DOES NOT LIVE IN A CAGE!!! Most people do not have his million dollar accomodations which include a place to swim, room to roam, organic food and treatment from the vet school, and people who come to see him from all over the world. Perhaps you might look at the video of his living quarters. It is much bigger than my home.

    HE COMES ON AT THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME BEFORE IT STARTS AND LEAVES ASAP. Look at the life span of a tiger in the wild and you will see that 5 tigers over more than half a century have lived longer and much better. He is the ONE symbol that has inspired animal care from people who drive in pickups with shotguns in the back window. NOTHING ELSE has awakened their compassion. LSU did not have to pay for his upgrades as the public donated with open hearts and wallets.

    If he were abused in any way, and I mean any way, people would know as he has private quarters but comes outside to swim and play all the time. I

    I funded the foundation with money I earned, not married it or inherited it and animals are my life. I have been active in helping since childhood, working in Louisiana in the 70s and 80s with creating a healthy animal shelter and being on the city-parish Board to insure their comfort and care as well as writing a weekly article in the Lafayette newspaper to educate the public on real animal needs. If I thought for one minute that this tiger was going to be in trouble, I would sign this. However, he will have about 2 years with this care and less than that if he is turned over to others without the means to adequately see him through his last stage of life.

    I have had a Mike the Tiger on my bed from childhood to adulthood. I am 66 years old now. I have his photo on my phone and his welfare in my heart.

    Normally, I would agree on this but unless you can show me the kind of care that a sanctuary can provide is equal to his lifestyle now, I cannot agree with this particular petition and I usually sign them all.

    I hope you will go to his website and view his surroundings and conditions and make an independent decision as to whether you feel moving him from the people that adore him and basically give him everything possible for his comfort and care is the best idea. If you have the name of a sanctuary that can provide equal love and support, I would be interested in hearing from you. Kneejerk reactionaries need not answer, from either side of this idea, until you see it for yourself and can fairly evaluate this issue.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Ms. White:

      I would like to know a few things, please:

      1. Were all of the tigers over the years rescue tigers?

      2. Please send verification of your comments, such as the video you mentioned of Mike’s living quarters as well as your statements of: “He is the ONE symbol that has inspired animal care from people who drive in pickups with shotguns in the back window. NOTHING ELSE has awakened their compassion. LSU did not have to pay for his upgrades as the public donated with open hearts and wallets.”

      Thank you kindly.

    • Claudette Gold says:

      I have seen the area where Mike lives. It has evolved into a wonderful living place for him and the previous mascots. I agree that these animals could meet a more serious fate at the end of a rifle. These animals are well taken care of. Everyone get your facts straight before you jump on this band wagon. There is no more of an animal lover than me. I would expect worse treatment of animals in any local zoo.

    • I am not receiving any replies to my questions; however I have been doing more research and found the following:

      1. Why wouldn’t LSU contradict our many claims on their Facebook page that Mike spends at least part of his time caged? If I were LSU, I would be vehemently denying that. But there is no word from them. I also learned that Mike sometimes goes to his “nighthouse”. Is this a cage? It sounds like it is a restrictive place nonetheless.
      2. My research indicates that all of the “Mikes” were purchased or donated from zoos, or from people that obtained them from zoos. The money will likely encourage these zoos to mate or inseminate any female animals they have and sell them to other zoos or organizations looking for an animal such as LSU.
      3. There were a number of pictures of the Mikes shown who were behind bars or caged-like material. My research also indicates that construction of the current tiger habitat was not even started until November 2004—decades after the first Mike arrived! One of the pictures shown had Mike in the snow and that is a problem. This species’ normal habitat is very warm weather. Furthermore, the habitat that Mike VI lives in, however large, is not nearly as large as a jungle where tigers are free to roam. These animals are still “captive” and that is wrong.
      4. If I remember correctly, the LSU president stated that wild tigers only live 10 to 15 years. I found information that stated that they can live as long as 25 in the wild.

    • I also found that Mike is tricked into getting into the trailer to go to the games. It’s really not Mike’s choice as I have been told. I also found this interview taken from LSU caretakers of Mike:

      “If Mike is a little reluctant, Cross and Monceaux have a few tricks up their sleeves.
      ‘We’ll put toys and scents in there,’ said Cross, ‘but things like meat don’t really work. Because he doesn’t have to hunt for his food, he really isn’t food motivated.’
      But game day — that’s GAME DAY — is totally different.
      ‘And Mike knows,’ Cross said. ‘He just knows.’
      First, he’s not let out in the mornings.
      ‘If we did, we’d never get him back in and into the trailer,’ explained Cross of why you don’t see Mike in his habitat on game days.
      The crowds, the activity on campus, the appearance of unfamiliar faces or vehicles — anything might make Mike hesitant about getting into the trailer.”

    • Joy Gauthiet says:

      Thank you for saying this!!! These idiots are thinking that Milke is being abused ?? He has cancer as any animal can get and is getting the best care ever along with LOVE. Can’t believe how they can twist this situation around !! Ugh

      • I am giving you facts. How does that make me an “idiot” “twisting this situation around”?


          MS. Schmidt You are the one in need of fact checking…Clearly you do not know a damn thing about Mike. Please check out Dr. David Bakers youtube videos as to how Mike is care for He is Mikes personal vet as well as 2 vet students that care for him daily… so do more accurate research and for the love of God stop drinking the PETA koolade…

          • @ DONNA SANSPREE STRICKLAND: I have investigated everything I could access on the internet including YouTube and I am giving nothing, but facts. I am raising questions of concern. If you cannot accept that, then there is something lacking in your analytical skills. As for your erroneous assumption of my involvement in PETA: I do not belong to PETA nor any other animal rights organization. I think for myself and act on my own initiative.

          • P.S. Nearly every one of the aforementioned sites I visited were from LSU.

          • @ DONNA SANSPREE STRICKLAND: Furthermore, I have two college degrees and have been trained to do research. I have also performed quite a bit of research as part of my work experience. Thus, I am fairly certain my data is accurate.

    • Richard Hofman Richard Hofman says:

      Then yourself should replace its “paradise” living in there and let this poor animal to go where it originally belong into… and finally you will give him the best gift ever before he must die thanks to humans…
      In nature any tiger never ever will get a cancer as it’s only caused thanks into the human’s imprisonment and lack of natural movement…I’m always saying that You, the humans just do kick the bucket out yourself on this planet but don’t involve something else to follow your crippling habits!!!!!

  5. It doesn’t matter what you say to defend your right to keep this tiger in captivity it is wrong. They were meant to be free and roam the earth. I am tired of everyone trying to justify keeping wild animals in human bondage. Just plain selfish. How would you like to be kept in bondage from your own species? Total bullshit and quit putting our animals in slavery!!!!!

    • Karen White says:

      And your sanctuary that you recommend is???

      How easy it is to condemn without a positive alternative.

      If you have an idea about where he should go that would support his health, I would be interested. Until you have a better option, and turning him into the wild is not going to help him at this stage of life, I find your response inadequate for his needs.

  6. Ghislaine Coulon says:

    Hi, we have seen on televised Houston SPCA , animals seized with the supportive ruling of local judge and local enforcement force, for cruelty against domestic, farm and exotic animals, so why is this different? Why can’t they intervene in the same way. signing a petition is good but it could take longer for it to bear fruit than the time the tiger has left to live. The fact that the University has gone through 5 and more tigers should be enough to show that their captivity is detrimental to their health and endangering their lives. Don’t you have,as the self professed best country in the whole world and the shining example of democracy and humane behaviour, the equivalent of the UK DEFRA which regulates husbandry of agricultural and exotic/zoo animals ? It baffles me that still today such practices can go ahead in establishments of High Education !!! Mascots should consist of a human volunteer sweating inside an acrylic fur fancy costume…full stop.

  7. How Horrendously CRUEL….SCUMBAGS…

  8. Sydney Myers says:

    So the moral of the story is: Never assume that highly educated individuals have high morals !!!!!! This tiger never should have been a mascot to begin with ………

  9. farrel wilson says:

    This is a fifty year old tradition that many, I hope, are learning to regret. I loved Mike the Tiger, II(?) when I went to LSU in the late 70’s. I loved animals then as I do now, but not the activist, not vehement, as so many species were not so close to extinction. I felt for Mike, but couldn’t put those feelings into words and actions. Now, yes, I believe, Mike VI, should be the last, and all Mikes honored forever more in human mascot form, tributes, tee shirts, etc. Proceeds going to tiger sactuaries.

  10. Louisiana has enough bad publicity, but I guess you all are pulling for more. LSU sets a standard for Louisiana and your colors are showing. You’re gonna get what you deserve. God was absent, but not anymore. The truth will be revealed! Get on the stick before it’s too late.

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