Photo courtesy of defenders.org
By Barton Perkins
Every college in existence, from Auburn to Loyola, has a mascot of some sort. This is a simple fact of the world we live in. Even we at Sewanee are the Sewanee Tigers. People dress up like animals and dance around football fields in an attempt to up moral amongst sports fans and players alike. However, some colleges take it further and go so far as to buy a live animal to serve as a mascot.
An example of this is Handsome Dan, Yale’s bulldog. These animals parade around the sporting arenas and boost moral for the players and provide a wonderful spectacle for people to watch. So why don’t we have a live tiger? And should we invest in one?
Technically speaking, there is a law in the state of Tennessee that prohibits owning exotic pets, including tigers. This has most likely scared the University off a bit. However, such animals can be owned for commercial activity, such as mascots or for breeding, with a $500 permit.
Additionally, being in possession of several species of tiger, including white and Siberian, is highly illegal. This is a result of such species being endangered and thus needed for breeding programs. Also, probably to make sure some idiot doesn’t buy one to make a rug out of.
However, there are several sources one can legally buy a tiger from online. These tigers are always female, and are ‘mixed breeds’ or tigers that don’t technically adhere to a certain subspecies. http://buytigers.com/ is an example of such a website and promises a female tiger cub for $13,400.
If we wound up with a tiger, we would of course need somewhere to put it. By state laws, at minimum a tiger requires 240 square feet to roam around in. Additionally, there would need to be a warm place for it to stay in the winter, as tigers are warm weather animals.
Mike the Tiger, the mascot of Louisiana State University, lives in an enclosure that cost three million dollars to build. However, much of this was used in the construction of water features and Roman architecture featured in the enclosure.
While getting a tiger would be awesome, it would also cost a ton of money. Then again, the University has made some frivolous investments in the past, so anything is possible.