Recently there has been a lot of feedback from the recent live tiger research that myself and other members of MSA have been doing. As president of the student body, I did not wish to spend much of my time on such an issue. Over the last week I have received literally hundreds of responses on the topic of a live tiger mascot and most of them have ironically been 'for' a live tiger on Mizzou's campus. As an advocate for the entire student body, or at least the majority of the student body, it is my job to decide what the students want.
After much research (and learning much more about tigers than I have ever cared to know) I have come to a few conclusions. First and foremost, if the University of Missouri is to ever consider a real tiger as a mascot, it needs to be done right. The right way to house a tiger is to create an environment that is as similar to it's natural environment as possible, this costs hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars (not $13 million for the record). This also includes having one or two full-time caretakers for the animal.
Considering we have one of the best animal science and veterinary programs in the country this will not be hard to find but will cost money. After learning that many tigers in America need a good home, some sanctuaries have offered to provide a tiger if the University provided a good home for one. Although I have received much support from alumni, including donation offerings, as of right now I am not in favor of spending student fees on such a project.
Considering the time and money associated with such an idea I have concluded that the University of Missouri should sponsor a live tiger or group of tigers and make them "Official Mizzou mascots." After researching various zoos and sanctuaries throughout Missouri I have realized there are many tigers that could use the sponsorship of the University. This will be a good start for the time being as if a live tiger were to happen it would take a great amount of time. As there are many other goals that I look to accomplish over my yearlong term, I feel that sponsoring a tiger can please the most people here at Mizzou. Hopefully students at Mizzou can realize that although this may be a good idea in theory it is something that needs to be carefully considered and funded before it actually happens. If anyone else feels compelled to comment on the issue please talk to me about it as I want to represent all of you on any decision I make.