Watson the sea-lion poses with a French flag at the Amneville Zoo near Metz, France, June 20, 2014, in this handout photo provided by the zoo on June 10, 2016. Zoo Amneville/Handout via Reuters
Following the example set by Paul the Octopus, Watson the sea-lion hopes his nose for winners will bring him international stardom – and a few extra fish – as he predicts the outcome of France’s games in the Euro soccer championship.
Weighing in at a sprightly 350 kg (771.62 lb), the middle-aged mammal, residing in a zoo in the eastern French town of Amneville, accurately forecast France’s passage to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, calling each game right until the French were knocked out 1-0 by Germany.
He signals his choice by picking up one of three ice-boxes bearing the flags of the rival teams and a “draw” sign.
Zoo keeper Pablo Joury hopes Watson will be a worthy successor to the German octopus, who accurately predicted Germany’s 2010 World Cup run and became a celebrity before dying a few months later.
For Friday evening’s opening match between France and Romania, Watson picked his home country, the favorite, to win. The tournament runs from June 10 to July 10.
If his winning streak lasts, Watson could have a long career. He turned 15 on June 1, just middle-age for a sea-lion.
(Writing By Brian Love; Editing by Paul Taylor)