After a large amount of confetti was found in Mike the Tiger's Habitat, his caretakers and team at the LSU Vet School are asking the community to keep it away.

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Graduation photos on the PMAC ramp and near Mike’s Habitat are a staple for LSU seniors, but some picture props should be kept away.

LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Communications Manager Ginger Guttner says that recently, Mike’s habitat has been littered with confetti from these photos that his caretaker has to remove in order to ensure his safety.

“We’ve had an issue lately with people popping confetti poppers, so she has to pick up all that plastic confetti,” Guttner said. “I think if it was paper it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s plastic.”

In a post to Mike’s social media accounts, Guttner pointed out the harm that the small plastic pieces could do to the four-year-old tiger, but Mike isn’t the only one at risk from the overuse of confetti and glitter.

Former LSU researcher Matthew Kupchik expressed concerns about the effect of confetti and glitter on campus’s environment.

“Plastic like this, like these glitter pieces that you commonly see in celebrations are polyester, just like the clothing you use, but it is a really durable polymer,” Kupchik said. 

This durability makes these fun photo props a hazard for not only Mike, but the world around him.

“It’s relatively resistant to tearing, it’s relatively resistant to breakdown from light, from heat, from temperature which also means it’s pretty bad for the environment because it can stick around for a really, really long time,” Kupchik explained.

It’s pretty easy to spot sparkly pieces all around the popular campus spots during graduation season. The problem comes in disposing all these small pieces properly.

“If you do choose to use this type of PETE confetti, just make sure you’re cleaning up afterwards,” Kupchik added. “This is going to be there a lot longer than the graduation party, and it’s going to stay for the next 2, 5, 10 thousand years.”

Alternatives to these hazards include the use of paper substitutes or effects added in photo editing applications.