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Mike IV was born at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, on May 15, 1974. He was originally named Jerry. Thanks to a lot of work by the Tiger Booster Club and Jack Gilmore, Mike IV was donated to LSU on August 27, 1976, by August A. Busch III of Busch Gardens. The two year old, 450 pound tiger arrived at LSU on August 29, 1976.

Mike spent the summer of 1981 at the Little Rock Zoo while his enclosure was being expanded from four hundred to eleven hundred square feet. When the expansion was completed it took Mike IV a while to adjust to his higher style of living. For the first few weeks Mike was very wary of his swimming pool. After about a week, however, he came to love getting in his pool.

One of the most famous incidents involving Mike IV occurred on November 28, 1981. About 1:00am, Dr. Bivin got a call from the LSU police. "Mike's out," they said. "Mike who?" he asked. The police responded, "Mike the tiger. He's out in the middle of North Stadium Drive." It seems some pranksters had cut the chain to the outer door and the lock to the inner door, releasing the dangerous cat. Mike was wandering around the north end of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. He ended up in the Bernie Moore Track Stadium. Mike attacked a small tree along the way and appeared to be enjoying himself. After three tranquilizers, Mike was returned to his cage and awoke the next morning with no ill effects.

Mike IV reigned for fourteen years at LSU and retired to the Baton Rouge Zoo in April 1990. He was put to sleep on March 3, 1995 due to health complications. His life span of twenty years, nine months, and eighteen days is considered extremely long for a captive tiger.

(from Mike the Tiger The Roar of LSU, Baker and Bivin ©2003)

 
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