Noce looks into getting live tiger for MU
Noce cites the tigers at LSU and Memphis as precedent for one at MU.
By Megan Pearl
Published Jan. 26, 2010
Missouri Students Association President Tim Noce is considering a special guest for future home games: a live tiger.
“We are the Mizzou Tigers, and LSU and Memphis have a live tiger so why can’t we?” Noce said.
Noce attributes the idea to people he has talked to around campus and the positive feedback he’s received about the prospect of a live tiger on campus.
“The only negative feedback I’ve gotten is from a monetary standpoint,” Noce said. “Everyone I’ve talked to has thought it would be really cool.”
Freshman Kali Parrish said she thought a live tiger would be a nice addition to the MU campus.
“When you think about the popularity of Bevo at the University of Texas at Austin, it really increases the hype at the games,” Parrish said.
Noce is in the process of setting up meetings with the athletics department, Division of Animal Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine to consider the options MU has with a live tiger. He is also contacting student leaders at other schools with live mascots on campus to see what kind of problems they have encountered with their animals.
The breeder Noce has contacted sells tigers for approximately $13,000. The price does not include expenses for living and upkeep. A 2007 USA Today article stated the tiger habitat at Louisiana State University costs $3 million and was funded by donations. Noce has also contacted the St. Louis Zoo to explore the option of bringing a tiger in for the six home games of the football season.
“First and foremost, we are going to see what people want,” Noce said.
Although some people support the idea of a live mascot, there are also those against it.
The organization Mizzou Tigers for Tigers is run by both faculty and students committed to protecting wild tigers, which have become increasingly rare following the industrialization of their natural habitats.
“The University of Missouri and the Mizzou Tigers for Tigers mascot conservation program do not support captive tiger mascots,” Chris Kuokola, assistant to the chancellor for university affairs and co-chairman of Mizzou Tigers for Tigers said. “And certainly reputable tiger sanctuaries in our country provide a valuable service when these magnificent animals have been abused in captivity or kept in environments that are not in their best interest.”
The organization cites the World Wildlife Fund on its Web site noting three of the eight tiger sub-species have become extinct within the past century.
Ethically, there is further theoretical dissent to keeping a tiger in captivity and as a mascot.
“It’s a thoughtless, completely unfeeling idea,” animal rights scholar Peter Singer said in an e-mail. “If you wanted to display a dog, that wouldn’t be a problem because dogs aren’t troubled by people, and they are generally safe around people. But a tiger would have to be caged, and there is no way you can keep a solitary tiger in tolerable conditions. That’s definitely animal abuse.”
Singer recommends staying with the methodology of having someone dress up as a tiger instead.