New Delhi: Shahrukh is the new Paul. And he has predicted that Germany will win its first UEFA Euro 2012 match against Portugal on Sunday.
Shahrukh is no actor. Unlike Paul he is no octopus either. He is an "oracle" elephant at the Hagenbecks Tierpark in Hamburg and, with his companion and fellow tusker, Shanti, will predict winners for this years Euro.
Paul the Octopus, who became very famous for picking flags put in his aquarium during the Soccer world Cup in 2010, died on October 26, 2010.
Shahrukh and Shanti eat fruits and vegetables off decorative edible flags - they chose to eat honeymelons and aubergine off the German flag to say that Germany would win its matchup with Portugal.
But Portugal take heart. For Yvonne, a soccer oracle cow, has predicted just the opposite. Yvonne ate from a trough carrying the national flag of Portugal at an animal sanctuary Gut Aiderbichl near Deggendorf, southern Germany.
Shahrukh, Shanti and Yvonne are not the only animal oracles who are predicting Euro 2012 winners. Citta, a Polish-based Indian elephant, is also in the race.
Krakow-based elephant Citta so far has a 100 percent record, according to zookeeper Jerzy Pirog. He says Citta correctly predicted the outcome of the Champions League final last month and has now been put to the test to predict the results of Poland's group matches.
The co-hosts open their Group A campaign against Greece today and according to Citta, they can expect to win. Presented with a choice of three melons, each set out in front of either the Polish flag, the Greek one or a banner proclaiming a draw, 33-year-old Citta scooped up the one in front of the Polish flag.
The Krakow Zoo thought it would be a bit much to task Citta with predicting the outcome of every match so they're just going to put her powers to the test for Poland's games.
However, should she prove as talented as Paul the Octopus, they're planning on rolling her out for the knock-out rounds as well.
It's been a long road for the Indian elephant to reach this illustrious stage in her career, having previously worked for a German circus and then entertained visitors at nature parks in Austria and Spain as well as the zoo in Hamburg.
Given the recent football betting Calcioscommesse match-fixing scandal in Italy, it is not yet clear how UEFA will react to Citta's predictions, although it is worth noting that Paul was never sanctioned during his career.
Story first published on: Friday, 08 June 2012 17:44 IST