Octopus Oracle Spawns Copycats, Concerns

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Part 2: Slaloms and Combined

The legacy of Paul the Octopus lives on, to mixed reviews.

The octopus made famous by its seeming ability to correctly predict winners in the 2010 Soccer World Cup has spawned a number of imitators — so many, in fact, that animal rights activists have put forward a protest.

Paul, originally from Weymouth, U.K., spent most of his life in an aquarium in Germany and rose to fame by displaying a knack for choosing food from boxes bearing the flag of the winner of World Cup matches. Paul is no longer available for predictions, having died in 2010. But owners of several other animals have put forward replacements:

  • Emma the Pig
  • Kasimir the Alpaca
  • Traudl the Goat
  • Xaver the Bulldog
  • Yvonne the Cow.

There's even Ferret and Mormel the Otters.

The "psychic" animals have produced mixed results, nothing like what Paul achieved. Yvonne the Cow proved especially inaccurate at picking winners.

A German animal rights group, Tierschutzbund, has sounded the alarm, concerned that such antics were harming the animals involved. One example, in particular, spurred the complaint: An Internet radio station offered Ado the Python a choice of two rats, one representing Denmark and the other representing Germany.

The predictions were mostly for Euro 2012, the biennial European soccer tournament won by Spain, 4-0 over Italy. Germany was in the tournament until the semifinals, losing to Italy, and so the animals had multiple opportunities to pick winners.

It's not clear what will happen to Tierschutzbund's complaint, now that the Euro has finished.

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