BATON ROUGE- Louise Constantino says it's a must for her granddaughter Raylee to see Mike VI anytime they're near LSU's campus.

But Wednesday's visit was more somber. While Raylee only got to see Mike napping, Constantino realized it may be the last time they see this tiger mascot.

"Devastated about it," she said, "Devastated."

Their visit came a short while after Mike's doctor's at the LSU Veterinarian School announced his tumor had grown and his cancer was spreading, leaving him with a month or so left to live.

David baker
"The plan is to give the LSU community time to say their goodbyes to Mike," said his vet Dr. David Baker, "He will be turned out in his yard as usual so long as his condition allows. We'll observe him very closely."

Doctors say they will euthanize Mike VI when they start to see a decline that indicates the slightest sign of suffering. And when Mike's time comes, the school says his habitat will not be empty very long because the search for Mike VII starts today.

"Personality that is confident, engaging and interactive," said Dr. Baker of what he will look for in the next Mike the Tiger, "We will focus on finding the tiger that is best for LSU and one that will continue to play a key role in educating students and the public regarding important issues in wildlife conservation."

In the meantime, many are beginning to memorialize Mike VI's nine years entertaining families, teaching students and inspiring the school, its teams, and the entire state.

While the Vet School does not have an estimate on how quickly Mike VII will be chosen and brought to campus, they say the search for Mike VI lasted about three months.