Following in the steps of Paul the Octopus, a giant panda cub will become the animal oracle for the 2014 Brazil World Cup, state mouthpiece Xinhua announced this week.
A young bear, less than 2 years old, will predict the results of eight soccer matches, probably using foods marked with national flags or by putting the flags in different trees. Whichever food or tree the panda chooses first will be deemed the predicted match winner.
Bloggers on Baidu were happy to hear the news. ‘Lei Lei Snake’ commented: “These fortune tellers are so cute!”
‘Ming Ling Swordsman’ said: “As long as those little cuties’ life is not disturbed, that’s fine to let people have fun. Let’s see if our national treasures will correctly predict the results.”
‘Cai Cai Cai Cai’ wrote: Whether their predictions are right or wrong, people will love these cute pandas!”
Pandas have been used to make predictions before, but weren’t as successful as Paul the Octopus, who had a success rate of 85 percent. A panda called Bo Si did correctly predict that Chinese athlete, Yuan Xiaochao, would win the first gold medal at the Asian Games. The carer used two types of food–bamboo and an apple–to test Bo Si. Bamboo stood for the Chinese team, while the apple stood for the non-Chinese team, and of course he chose bamboo.
The type of food was key to the prediction. The carers told the reporter that bamboo is not the bear’s favorite. Their favorite foods include milk, apple, carrots, and sugar cane.