Considered the school’s “living mascot,” Mike lives in an enclosure around the corner from the university’s 100,000-plus-seat football stadium, which is regularly packed each fall with rowdy fans. Other days are spent being provoked by visitors, as shown in the recent viral video.
The look on his face after the pounce was one of defeat — and it’s one that’s hitting especially hard for animal advocates like Susan Bass, PR director for Big Cat Rescue.
“It's incredibly sad to see the school using the tiger as entertainment,” Bass told The Dodo. “Mike is displaying his natural instinct to attack ‘prey’ from behind and obviously does not know the barrier is there. He could hurt himself when he flings [himself] full-force against these plexiglass-type walls.”