Newborn pumas in Saransk zoo given football names in honor of 2018 World Cup

Visitors will be able to see one of the cats of prey in a special enclosure in May, when the zoo opens for summer
04 December 2015
"Saransk 2018" photo department

Three baby pumas were born in the Saransk zoo. The management of the zoo and "Saransk 2018" decided to give them football name in honor of the coming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The cubs got the names of the brightest football stars - Suarez, Neymar and Messi.

"We live in anticipation of the football, it gets into all areas of our life,” Director of the organizing committee “Saransk 2018” Alexey Pleshachkov told “It is very symbolic that the cubs receives these names, because the world famous trio wins the hearts of football fans with their game. Maybe we will be able to see them play in Saransk in 2018. We hope that these bright names will mean bright future for the animals. Little cubs are cheerful and kind, excited to let people pet them,” he said.

According to the Director of the Zoo, Pavel Kshnyaykin, visitors will be able to see one of the cats of prey in a special enclosure in May, when the zoo will open for the summer season.

"By 2018 we will train any animals to predict the score. Maybe it will be a porcupine or a quiet and clever raccoon dog, which lives in the zoo. Birds are also easy to train, if you train them since they were nestlings. Perhaps, an eagle or a raven could “caw” results. There is still time," he said.

In 2018 Saransk will host four matches of the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.


Notable animal foretellers

Paul the Octopus

Paul the Octopus from the German aquarium in Oberhausen became famous during the 2008 European Championship, predicting outcomes of matches involving the German national team. Before the game two clear bowls with the flags of the competing teams were lowered into the water tank, then the octopus crawled into whichever bowl he liked, thus making the choice.

During the 2008 European Championship, Paul made a mistake just once - predicted a German victory over Spain in the final match. But in 2010, the octopus correctly called the outcome of the meetings of the German team at the World Cup in South Africa. In total 14 times Paul made predictions, making mistakes only twice.

On the day of the death of Paul in October 2010 the aquarium has lowered the flags and put up a book of condolences. The ashes of the famous octopus were immured in the monument depicting Paul with a soccer ball, which was installed in the aquarium.

Funtik the pig and Fred the ferret

During Euro 2012 two "oracle" made the predictions - a boar named Funtik and ferret Fred. Two plates with the images of the countries’ flags were put before Funtik. The boar would start eating from one of the plates, thus, choosing the winning team. Unlike the octopus Paul, Funtik guessed only half of outcomes.

Fred, "used" the same mechanism and also guessed only half of results.

Cabeção the turtle

During the Brazilian 2014 World Cup a huge sea turtle named Cabeção became the new “Nostradamus”. As in the case with the previous foretellers, food was involved. Goalposts with the countries’ flags and sardines were installed in the turtle’s pool. The turtle chose the gates and the national team.

Nelly the Elephant

Unlike the octopus, the turtle, the ferret and the boar, elephant Nelly did not require food to generate predictions. Her actions were more complex - get the ball into the goalpost. The elephant had two gates with flags – the gates where Nelly scored goals were believed to loose the match.

Nelly began her "career" in 2011 during the Women's World Championship. The elephant guessed almost all outcomes of matches involving the German national team. After the tournament Nelly continued to demonstrate her ability at the club level. In particular, she accurately predicted the outcome of the Champions League final in 2012, when Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund.


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