David G. Baker




David G. Baker is a professor at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine where he serves as director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine and as attending veterinarian for LSU. Baker has been Mike the Tiger's primary veterinarian since 1996.


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Mike the Tiger: The Roar of LSU new edition

Mike the Tiger has symbolized the spirit and resolve of Louisiana State University for more than 75 years. Fiercely confident, keenly competitive, marvelously clever and the only live tiger to reside on a college campus, Mike reigns nobly from his home just outside of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

In this completely updated and visually stunning new edition of Mike the Tiger, David G. Baker and W. Sheldon Bivin tell the story of the famed mascot from the Civil War origins of LSU's fighting tiger tradition to the present age of social media. They debunk the myths, confirm the legends and share priceless behind-the-scenes anecdotes as they chronicle the reign of each of the six Mikes. Included are 70 additional photos, for a total of 200 images, as well as new details about:

  • The construction of a spacious natural enclosure for Mike in 2005, complete with waterfall, stream, pool, shrubs, rocks and grass.
  • The final years of Mike V, who was hand-raised at LSU, and the outpouring of condolences upon his death.
  • The exciting arrival and introduction of Mike VI and the establishment of his reputation as possibly the most affectionate and inquisitive personality of any LSU tiger.
  • The naming of a sixth subspecies of tiger, the Malayan, and the current status of global tiger preservation efforts.
  • Frequently asked questions and answers about Mike's care and lifestyle.

Mike the Tiger provides a treat for all who ever said, "Meet me at the tiger cage," for all who still marvel at his regal appearance and for all who will forever bleed purple and gold.


Q & A

What interesting things readers can learn from your book Mike the Tiger: the Roar of LSU?  
Readers will learn about the origins of LSU’s “tiger” moniker, the history of LSU’s “Mike” the tiger mascot program as well as the history of each Mike, and current knowledge regarding tiger endangerment and tiger conservation.

What motivated you to tell this story?
This is a rich aspect of the history of one of the great universities of the south. I think it is especially important that persons associated with LSU are aware of and share in this fascinating history.

What was the most enjoyable part of the process of writing this book?
The most enjoyable part of writing the book was reconnecting with the former tiger caretakers and hearing first-hand their accounts of some of the most interesting events in LSU’s tiger mascot program.

How do you think this story resonates with Louisiana (culture, readers, history, Louisianans, etc.)?
Mike the tiger holds a special place in the hearts of all who “bleed purple and gold”. He is a symbol of this university and so his story recalls to mind the many positive experiences shared over the years by our students, staff, and faculty.

What excites you about the festival?
The chance to tell the story of Mike the tiger.

What should people look forward to by coming to your presentation at the festival?
People should look forward to learning about aspects of the history of Mike the tiger they may not have known.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Geaux tigers! (in spite of their showing at the College World Series)


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