Panda pundits red carded by authorities

Comment on this story
iol news pic SMS04_BRAZIL-WORLD CUP-_0325_11 REUTERS A woman walks in front of a graffiti art of the official mascot of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, Fuleco the Armadillo near the Maracana stadium, one of the stadiums hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer matches, in Rio de Janeiro. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

Beijing - A team of Chinese baby pandas lined up to predict World Cup scores have been given the red card by authorities hours before kick off, the animals' keepers told AFP on Thursday.

The pandas were billed by Chinese media as China's answer to deceased soccer soothsayer Paul the Octopus, after they were originally set to predict match results by picking food from a choice of baskets and by climbing trees.

But representatives at the pandas' breeding base in southwestern Sichuan province said the bears would not be given the chance to predict results at this year's tournament, which begins in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

“The predictions have been halted by the authorities,” said a spokesman at the China Centre for Research and Conservation of Giant Pandas, without elaborating.

State news agency Xinhua had previously said the pandas, who are aged between one and two years old, were to select food from three bamboo baskets representing either a win, loss or draw during the group stages.

For the knock-out rounds, the animals would select winners by climbing trees marked with the national flags of competing nations, it added.

China had hoped the pandas could match the worldwide fame achieved by Paul, the German octopus that correctly predicted the results of eight games at the 2010 World Cup.

Paul the Octopus, who used his tentacles to choose mussels or oysters from boxes bearing the flags of participating nations, died in October 2010, shortly after that year's World Cup in South Africa.

China has about 1 600 pandas living in the wild. They have a notoriously low reproductive rate and are under pressure from factors such as habitat loss in their home terrain of Sichuan, northern Shaanxi and northwestern Gansu provinces. - AFP


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.