BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — LSU’s live tiger mascot, known as Mike VII, has received both doses of his COVID-19 vaccination from a local veterinarian, according to the university.
Mike VII took his first shot on July 16 and the second on Aug. 6 from David Baker, DVM, Ph.D. The vaccine was donated to the university by Zoetis, a global animal health company. The university said Mike VII has not shown any adverse effects from the vaccine, and his caretakers will continue to monitor him closely.
“In 2020, lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans,” stated a press release from LSU. “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.”
Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses 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, according to LSU.
The vaccine has been authorized for experimental use by the USDA and the state veterinarian. The vaccine deployment to dozens of zoos follows Zoetis’ response in January to a request from the San Diego Zoo following confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. There have also been confirmed cases of COVID-19 in captive tigers. More information about this program by Zoetis can be found online.
Mike VII is currently four years old and will turn five on Sept. 13.