Madrid zoo bids to buy ‘Octopus Paul’ from German aquarium after Spain World Cup win

By Alan Clendenning, AP
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Madrid zoo bids to buy Octopus Oracle from Germany

MADRID — The Madrid Zoo said Thursday that it has made an offer to buy Paul, the octopus who became a pop culture sensation by correctly predicting the outcome of as many World Cup matches as he has legs - all seven of Germany’s games plus the Spain-Netherlands final.

The zoo said it made the offer after receiving hundreds of requests from Spaniards for Paul’s transfer from a German aquarium after Spain won the World Cup on Sunday.

Zoo spokeswoman Amparo Fernandez said an unspecified amount of cash was offered for the purchase of Paul, now a hero in Spain, which went wild after it won its first World Cup ever.

“We hope that within the next few days we will be able to confirm news that the admirable Paul will be part of the club of the most loved and charismatic animals of the Madrid Zoo,” said a statement from the zoo.

Paul’s owner - the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany - declined immediate comment and requested that a reporter send questions by e-mail.

The intuitive invertebrate was retired this week from predicting football game outcomes, and Madrid Zoo officials promised he wouldn’t be used again for similar duties.

The Madrid Zoo also offered to exchange animals with the German aquarium in return for Paul or beat any other offers, and promised he would “receive the utmost attention, a reflection of the great affection that all Spaniards profess for him since he predicted that the Spanish squad would win the World Cup.”

Paul is so popular in Spain that a northwestern Spanish town tried to borrow him. Officials in O Caraballino, population 14,000, declared that the octopus is their “honorary friend” and wanted Paul’s presence to promote a seafood festival, the Faro de Vigo newspaper said.

A businessman from the town also offered to ?30,000 ($40,000) to buy Paul, but the newspaper said Sea Life declined.

Octopus is a delicacy in restaurants throughout Spain, but Fernandez insisted there was no way Paul would end up being served up on a restaurant plate if he is moved to the Madrid Zoo.

“For Gods sake no!” she said. “It’s so people could see him here.”

(This version CORRECTS Updates with details, corrects day to Thursday from Wednesday.)

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