BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU's live tiger mascot will stay in his habitat when the football team has home games during the 2016 season.
The university Mike VI has never been forced to be part of pre-game events. The tiger makes the decision whether or not to get into his trailer, but in light of his recent cancer diagnosis, officials will not attempt to load Mike into his trailer during the current football season.
Instead, fans can look to find Mike in his yard throughout the day, starting when he is let out early in the morning. While LSU officials understand that having Mike on the field for game day is an important tradition, they are focused on the tiger's health, safety and well-being.
On Wednesday, June 1, the tiger returned to his habitat on the university's campus after undergoing radiation treatment at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center that afternoon.
Mike VI has a tumor in his face near his nose, which was diagnosed as spindle cell sarcoma. The rare type of cancer was diagnosed after student caretakers noticed swelling on the right side of his face.
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"It appears that the tumor in Mike's face responded to the radiation treatment and has shrunk in size. Mike's attitude, weight and appetite are normal, and he does not appear to be in any pain," LSU officials said in a release Tuesday.
They added the radiation-resistant cells that remain in Mike's tumor will eventually begin to grow again.
Doctors said that without treatment Mike would have lived for one or two months, but treatment could extend his life to one or two years.
Mike VI is LSU's sixth live Tiger mascot, dating back to Mike I in 1936.