China bets on panda pundits for World Cup

Jun 03, 2014
File photo taken on September 23, 2013 shows new-born panda cubs in a crib at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China's Sichuan province

A crack team of baby pandas will be used to predict World Cup scores in China, according to reports, in a homegrown answer to deceased soccer soothsayer Paul the Octopus.

The cuddly creatures will predict match winners by picking food from a choice of baskets and climbing trees at China's flagship panda breeding base in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

China hopes the bears will be odds on to match the worldwide fame achieved by Paul, the German octopus who correctly predicted the results of several 2010 World Cup games using its tentacles.

During the group stages, aged between one and two years old will select food from three bamboo baskets representing either a win, loss or draw, Xinhua said.

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

They will have to go a long way to beat Paul the tentacled oracle, however, who successfully predicted the outcome of eight matches by choosing a mussel or oyster from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing nations. He died in 2010.

China has about 1,600 pandas living in the wild, mostly in earthquake-prone Sichuan province in the country's southwest.

Pandas 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.

Biologists working at the panda base in Sichuan province have carried out a long but to date unsuccessful project to reintroduce human raised pandas to the wild.

Explore further: Giant panda in Thailand pregnant, says zoo

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to launch panda census

Jun 27, 2011

China is set to launch its once-a-decade panda census, state media reported Monday, as it tries to determine how many of the endangered animals live in the wild amid efforts to boost numbers.

China releases panda after special survival regime

Oct 12, 2012

A captive-bred Chinese panda has been released into the wild as part of efforts to help the struggling species, but this time with special survival training after one of the animals died in a previous attempt.

Giant panda gives birth to twins in China

Jun 24, 2013

A rare giant panda has given birth to twins in China, the first pair of the endangered species born in the world this year, conservation workers told state media Sunday.

Pandas to return to famous China reserve in 2012

Sep 20, 2009

(AP) -- Sixty pandas relocated last year from a famous Chinese nature reserve after their breeding center was severely damaged by a massive earthquake will return home after repairs in 2012.

Recommended for you

'Red effect' sparks interest in female monkeys

Oct 17, 2014

Recent studies showed that the color red tends increase our attraction toward others, feelings of jealousy, and even reaction times. Now, new research shows that female monkeys also respond to the color red, ...

Roads negatively affect frogs and toads, study finds

Oct 17, 2014

The development of roads has a significant negative and pervasive effect on frog and toad populations, according to a new study conducted by a team of researchers that included undergraduate students and ...

All in a flap: Seychelles fears foreign bird invader

Oct 17, 2014

It was just a feather: but in the tropical paradise of the Seychelles, the discovery of parakeet plumage has put environmentalists in a flutter, with a foreign invading bird threatening the national parrot.

Amphibians being wiped out by emerging viruses

Oct 16, 2014

Scientists tracing the real-time impact of viruses in the wild have found that entire amphibian communities are being killed off by closely related viruses introduced to mountainous areas of northern Spain.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Anda
not rated yet Jun 03, 2014
Paul the octopus, R.I.P., Spain won't forget you ;)