BATON ROUGE—On July 16, Mike VII, LSU’s live tiger mascot, received his first COVID-19 vaccination from his veterinarian, David Baker, DVM, Ph.D., and his second dose on Aug. 6. The vaccine was donated by Zoetis, which is donating more than 11,000 of its COVID-19 vaccine to help protect the health and well-being of more than 100 mammalian species living in zoos, conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions, and government organizations located in 27 states.
Mike VII has not shown any adverse effects from the vaccine. His caretakers will continue to monitor him closely as always. LSU is dedicated to providing the best care for Mike VII.
In 2020, lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. It is believed that the animals contracted the virus from zookeepers. Because of this, in 2020 LSU put up barricades around the Tiger Habitat to keep visitors at least 10 feet from Mike VII. Now that Mike has been vaccinated, the barricades will be removed the week of Aug. 17.
In addition to the barricades around the habitat, the LSU mascot team instituted procedures to prevent disease transmission. LSU also restricted access to the night house to only those personnel directly involved in Mike’s care.