Animal oracles pick different World Cup winners


Posted at Jul 11 2010 01:48 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2010 09:53 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Octopus or chimpanzee?

Following an octopus’ prediction that Spain will win the 2010 FIFA World Cup, another animal made a forecast that the Netherlands will win the top football prize in South Africa.

A chimpanzee called “Pino” made the prediction in an Estonian zoo.

But Estonian tabloid “Ohtuleht” noted that the chimpanzee could be biased because he was born in Amsterdam.

Pino was given two paper bags which had snacks decorated with a Spanish or Dutch flag.

He picked the Netherlands, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Another zoo animal, an African Red River Hog, also chose the Dutch “snack bag.”

It was pointed out, however, that he could also be biased because his name, “Apfelsin,” means “orange” in Estonian. The Dutch uniform is color orange.

Oracle octopus

Paul “The Psychic” octopus has correctly predicted all of Germany’s 2010 World Cup matches, including the country’s 3rd place finish after it edged Uruguay, 2-1.

The octopus is housed at the Sea Life in Oberhausen, Germany but was born in England.

His accurate predictions have made him a world-famous celebrity. The octopus even has several Facebook accounts and fan pages, the Associated Press reported. As of posting, 112,102 like “Paul, The Psychic Octopus.”

While the Germans rejoiced over Paul picking Germany over Uruguay in the battle for 3rd place, their reaction was violent when the octopus chose Spain to beat their country in the semifinal.

Some Germans even called for the grilling of the "psychic” octopus.

The octopus makes his decision by picking food from two different transparent boxes lowered into his tank. The containers have the flags of the opposing countries on it.

Paul has taken 70 minutes to make several of his World Cup picks but for his Spain vs Netherlands prediction, it only took him 3 minutes.

Spanish football fans were happy with Paul’s prediction. Even two Spanish government officials had a thing or two to say about the octopus.

“I am concerned for the octopus...I am thinking of sending him a protective team,” Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Zapatero said in jest as quoted in a Reuters report.

Elena Espinosa, Spain’s Environment and Fisheries Minister, added: “On Monday I shall be at the European Council of Ministers and I shall be asking for a (fishing) ban on Paul the octopus so Germans do not eat him.”

Officials at Sea Life in Oberhausen assured that the octopus is in safe hands.

PETA fights for Paul

An animal rights group earlier called for the release of Paul into a national park where fishing is not allowed.

“Paul has forecast that Germany will beat Argentina. In order that Paul too can celebrate on Saturday, and not just football fans, PETA Germany... is now asking for him to be set free,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said in a statement.

The organization also thinks that Paul would be fine in the sea as opposed to being stuck in a small aquarium.

“Octopuses are among the most intelligent of invertebrates. They are capable of complex thought processes, have short and long-term memories, use tools, learn through observation, have different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,” PETA continued.

Sea Life, on the other hand, disagreed with PETA.

“Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,” a Sea Life spokeswoman told AFP. “It is highly likely that he would die.” – With reports from Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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