BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University is searching for a new tiger mascot, with the university’s president hoping to have a Mike VII on campus by the September start of football season.

LSU President F. King Alexander says renovations to the tiger’s on-campus habitat will be completed by Aug. 10, and he told The Advocate that LSU has leads on a new tiger.

Mike VI, LSU’s mascot since 2007, died in October of cancer.

The university has had a live tiger mascot since 1936. Animal rights groups have called on the school to abandon the practice.

Alexander responds that the university is trying to help tigers and educate people who come to see the tiger about the plight of the species. He says LSU is working to get accredited as a tiger sanctuary.