AUBURN, Ala. – Famed golden eagle Tiger, a symbol of the Auburn University spirit for nearly 30 years, died June 18. At 34 years old, she was believed to be among the oldest golden eagles in captivity.
On Aug. 31, 2000, Tiger, who was also known as War Eagle VI, was the first eagle to fly free in Jordan-Hare Stadium. For seven years, she flew at home football games and was retired following her 2006 flight at the Auburn-Georgia game.
Tiger underwent surgery June 17 to remove a cataract in her left eye, when a team of veterinarians determined surgery was needed. “The cataract was progressing, and without surgery a complete loss of vision was expected,” said Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Center and head of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Clinical Sciences.
“Tiger came through surgery and anesthesia well and progressed normally during recovery,” said Bellah. “A turn for the worse occurred during the night. We, like the Auburn family, are heartbroken by her death.” A post-mortem examination (necropsy) has been requested. Plans for a memorial are pending.
In 2012, veterinary ophthalmologists performed successful cataract surgery in her right eye. Months later, the retina of that eye detached, and caused her to lose vision in that eye.
Nova is War Eagle VII, and he, along with Spirit, an American bald eagle, now fly during pregame ceremonies at home football games.