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Ready to roar

Ready to roar

Mike VI to mark first full season at Tiger Stadium

By JORDAN BLUM
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Aug 30, 2008 – Page: 1B – UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.

Despite the threat of a hurricane, Mike VI is still scheduled to make a lap around the field of Tiger Stadium today before the rescheduled 10 a.m. football kickoff, marking the beginning of his first full season at LSU.

The now 3-year-old tiger has gained more than 100 pounds — now weighing 420 pounds — in his one year at LSU, said Ginger Guttner, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine spokeswoman.

“He’s doing very well. He’s adjusted very well,” Guttner said. “He’s at a normal stage in his development.

“He’s still very young — like the equivalent of a 16-year-old boy,” she said.

Mike V, who died last year of renal failure, was a Bengal-Indochinese mix that peaked at about 370 pounds.

Mike VI is already larger and could eventually exceed 600 pounds as a larger Bengal-Siberian mix tiger. That could make him LSU’s largest tiger ever.

While the LSU football team has gone through two-a-days and scrimmages in recent weeks getting ready for the season, Mike VI has been training in his travel trailer, Guttner said.

To adjust for the heat, the tiger will have a fan with him and possibly ice too, she said.

Mike’s primary veterinarian, LSU’s David Baker, would not comment for this story, Guttner said.

Mike VI arrived Aug. 25, 2007, in Baton Rouge from the Great Cats of Indiana rescue facility, where he was born. Mike was originally named Roscoe, before assuming the traditional LSU mascot name once making his way south.

But Mike VI did not attend the first few home football games last year as he became acclimated to his surroundings.

Herb Vincent, LSU senior associate athletic director, said Mike VI has been a great addition to LSU.

“He’s a beautiful animal,” Vincent said. “He’s entertaining to watch. He’s a showman.”

Mike VI is very playful and enjoys swimming in his lush habitat next to Tiger Stadium, Vincent said.

“You can hear the oohs and aahs from the crowd when he jumps into the water,” Vincent said. “He puts on a show.”

While Mike V was a great mascot, Mike VI is younger, bigger and more energetic, Vincent said.

Mike’s habitat is easily one of the most visited places in the state, Vincent said.

“I think the mascot is a great rallying point for the university and the students and the fans,” he said.

The only precaution still being taken with Mike VI is that LSU officials will wait one more year before allowing the human Mike the Tiger mascot to approach Mike VI in his trailer in the stadium, Guttner said.

Mike V had a tendency to roar whenever his human counterpart approached, she said. Mike VI prefers making more friendly chuffing sounds.

http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/27687094.html

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