“Management and staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre were devastated to discover that oracle octopus Paul, who achieved global renown during the recent World Cup, had passed away overnight,” the aquarium said in a sombre statement.
“Paul amazed the world by correctly predicting the winners of all Germany’s World Cup clashes, and then of the final,” said Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll.
“His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself ... We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed,” said Porwoll.
Paul beat the odds during the World Cup by correctly forecasting all eight games he was asked to predict, including Spain’s 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.
For the prediction, two boxes were lowered into the salty soothsayer’s tank, each containing a mussel and a flag of the two opposing teams.
Watched by a myriad of reporters, Paul would head to one box, wrench open the lid and gobble the tasty morsel, with the box he plumped for being deemed the likely winner.
Paul’s body is now in cold storage while the aquarium decides “how best to mark his passing.”
However, Paul’s fans need not despair. The aquarium has already been grooming a successor, to be named Paul like his mentor.
“We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine,” said Porwoll.
“While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action.” - AFP