MSA moving forward with live tiger sponsorship

The St. Louis Zoo has asked for $100,000 for a five-year sponsorship of one of its tigers.

The Missouri Students Association is making plans to sponsor live tigers and tiger habitats at zoos across Missouri.

The idea for tiger sponsorship came as a result of former MSA President Tim Noce’s plan to purchase a live tiger for Missouri football games during his term.

“(Noce) and (former MSA vice president) Danielle (Bellis) decided they wanted to make a positive of something that gave them negative attention,” MSA President Eric Woods said.

Noce said the idea to sponsor tigers came about a month after his original proposal to purchase one of the animals.

“We wanted to follow through with something we were looking into,” Noce said.

Although the sponsoring of tigers and habitats came from Noce’s idea, MU will not be receiving a live tiger to house on campus as a result of the sponsorship, Bellis said.

MSA is in financial negotiations with the Saint Louis Zoo, the Dickerson Park Zoo and the Kansas City Zoo, Noce said.

“The sponsorship will cost money, but the cost to students through MSA will be minimal,” Woods said.

Woods said whether students will pay for the tigers through students fees in not yet determined.

Although figures have not been solidified, the Saint Louis Zoo has asked $100,000 to sponsor a tiger over a five-year period. The Saint Louis Zoo will also be willing to discount their asking price through donations, Woods said.

“The Saint Louis Zoo will be contributing through in-kind donations through advertising,” Woods said. “We’ll try and do some trading of advertisements at (MU) sporting events (for the zoo) and advertisements (for MU) at the zoo.”

Bellis said MSA is also in talks with different departments and organizations on campus to partner with MSA and help fund the sponsorship.

“The Athletics Department, Student Life and also the Student Unions have been expressing interest in helping to fund the project,” Woods said.

After donations, the remaining cost of the tiger sponsorship will be spilt between MSA and other willing organizations, Woods said.

“We hope to able to fundraise some of the money from the student end,” Woods said. “We’ll just have to see how it works out.”

Bellis said MU would sponsor the tigers by holding fundraising events to help conservation efforts.

"In exchange the zoos would do some sort of naming of the tigers,” Bellis said. “It would be something along the lines of a sign reading ‘These are the Mizzou Tigers’ or ‘This exhibit is brought to you by Mizzou.’ It would be some sort of underwritten advertisement of Mizzou.”

Woods said the tiger sponsorships would be a good public relations move as well as a way to increase MSA's visibility.

“We’re helping preserve awesome animals at awesome zoos,” he said. “At the same time, it’s great PR for the university in areas like St. Louis where we draw a lot of our students from and in the Springfield area where we don’t. It’s visibility on our part, it’s a little bit of advertising and to spread the Mizzou school spirit.”

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