BATON ROUGE, LA — If you went to the first LSU home football game, you might have noticed something missing. The school's live tiger mascot, Mike VI, skipped out on last weekend's game.
Ginger Guttner, the director of public relations at the LSU Vet School, said everything's fine. However, some days, he just does not want to go.
"If he doesn't go, it doesn't mean that anything bad has happened. It doesn't mean that he's sick," Guttner said. "It just means that he's a 440-pound tiger, and he didn't feel like going that day."
One of their priorities is to look after LSU's live tiger, Mike VI. Guttner said she knows Mike's a huge part of the fan experience at home football games, but it's his choice whether he goes or not.
"We just open the door and let him in. Trying to entice him with food or toys won't work," Guttner said. "He's very smart. So you're not able to trick him. It's literally just opening the doors and waiting to see whether or not he's willing to go in."
Another time Mike may not go to a game is when the weather is just too much for him to handle.
"There has been a couple of times when there's a day game and it's been too hot, and his veterinarian will make that decision not to bring him," Guttner said. "We understand that having Mike the Tiger go to the football games for home games is a very big part of the fan experience, but we just want fans to know that we don't make Mike go to the games."
Tyler Robinson and Emmalee Shaheen are LSU football fans. They said even though they like Mike being at the games, they're happy he has freewill.
"I think he adds to the excitement of the game, and I think it makes people excited to see our official mascot, the real tiger, in Tiger Stadium," Robinson said. "I wasn't sure though why some weekends he was there and the next weekend he was not, but I do think it's awesome that they don't sedate him, and they let him do it on his own will."
"I think that's probably the best thing they can do to get him to the games, and not have discrimination against him being here," Shaheen said. "On the field or not on the field, he's there on his own."