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Imprisoned Octopus

Calls to release "psychic" cephalopod may lead to "dead" cephalopod.

11:30 AM, Jul 9, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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You'd think the life of Paul the Octopus, living in a German seaquarium, couldn't get any better. He never has to worry about predators, food is never scarce, and the people love him. The only strenuous exercise for the cephalopod is selecting winners for World Cup matches, which he has done successfully this year. But as Jennifer Rubin points out over at Commentary (citing an article in the Edmonton Sun), the folks at PETA Deutschland are not amused and want him freed from captivity.

Imprisoned Octopus

PETA marine biologist Dr. Tanja Breining described Paul's use as an oracle "thankless." The octopus is highly intelligent and deserves better than imprisonment—he needs to be released back into the wild. Except, as a Sealife spokesman told Agence France Press, "Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves.... It is highly likely that he would die."

And then we'd never know who'll win Sunday's match.

UPDATE: A reader brings to my attention more evidence, terrifying evidence, of the octopus's intelligence. In this link, an octopus figures out how to open a glass jar in order to feast on a crustacean. The second link is from National Geographic and reports on octopie that carry around coconut halves, reassemble them at will, and hide inside them if necessary. And yet another octopus writes a blog for PostPartisan. Okay, I made that last one up. But what if the octopus wants to cover conservatives and promises to be fair?

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