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Mike VIII celebrates one year as LSU's mascot

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BATON ROUGE - One year ago today, Mike VII arrived on campus at LSU.

"He was 11 months. Very interactive, very inquisitive about his new surroundings," said Dr. David Baker, Mike's vet.

Since arriving from Florida, a lot about the cub formerly known as Harvey has changed.

"He weighed 170 lbs when he arrived. He's almost 430 now," he said

But a lot has stayed the same.

"He's still very inquisitive, very confident, and very affectionate."

That curiosity and playfulness has made the Bengal tiger quite popular for guests. Perhaps too much for his own good. In June, Mike's caretakers asked visitors to stop trying to get him to jump on the glass in his enclosure, as he could get hurt.

"Tigers attack from behind," explained Dr. Baker. "They don't normally attack people, we're not a part of their diet, but he probably wants to play."

He says his friendliness, though, is more or less a good thing.

"If they don't trust you, they won't come up to you. And we need him to come up to us so that we can examine him and make sure he's healthy."

But he wants people to remember that even though he acts like a big cat, he's still a wild animal.

"He interacts well with us, but he is a tiger. We have to be very careful with him. We don't go in with him. There's always some protection between us. He's not a pet."

Mike will turn 2 years old in September but won't be considered fully mature until his next birthday.


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