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Psychic Saiga, A Kazakh World Cup Twitter Tipster

If Psychic Saiga's World Cup predictions become a hit, they could help draw some welcome attention to the plight of his fellow antelopes. Kazakhstan's saiga population has decline rapidly in recent years.
Meet Psychic Saiga, an antelope that roams the Kazakhstan steppe, and uses his magic powers to predict the 2014 World Cup soccer results. Or so he claims on Twitter.

Using animals to predict soccer match results has become a worldwide craze since Paul the Octopus, who lived in a tank in Oberhausen, Germany, shot to fame by correctly predicting eight matches during the 2010 World Cup, including the final, when he foresaw Spain's victory over the Netherlands. (Paul didn't fare too well in the 2008 European Championship, however, getting two out six predictions wrong.)

Since Paul's impressive run, other animals around the world have attempted to get in on the act.

Big Heads, a turtle in Brazil, Madam Shiva, a guinea pig in Switzerland, and a team of baby pandas in China –to name just a few – are all aiming to predict the winners of each match at the World Cup in Brazil.

Psychic Saiga is also facing competition at home in Kazakhstan from Tomiris the Monkey from the Almaty zoo.

But unlike other psychic animals, Psychic Saiga has never been seen. In fact, there is no evidence that he even exists other than his Twitter account.@psychicsaiga.

Psychic Saiga, or whoever is tweeting in his name, also claims his predictions won't be limited to the World Cup -- or even sports.

"I roam the steppe and use my powers to predict future events via a shaman friend of mine," he tweeted recently.

The antelope, however, got his debut prediction wrong by saying that the opening World Cup game between Brazil and Croatia would end in a draw.

The host, Brazil won the June 12 match, beating Croatia 3-1.

Unfazed by the error, Psychic Saiga blamed it on a "dodgy" call by the referee.

"It should have been a ref from Uzbekistan," he tweeted.

He went on to make more predictions, forecasting victory in matches for Mexico over Cameroon and Chile over Australia on June 13 as well as a draw between Spain and the Netherlands on the same day.

As for the final game, Psychic Saiga predicts Argentina will win the World Cup with a victory over runner-up England.

Will Psychic Saiga be a worthy successor to Paul the Octopus? Will his predictions be better than Madam Shiva's and Big Heads, the turtle's?

If so, he may raise the profile of his fellow Saiga antelopes, an endangered species often hunted by poachers.

The population of Kazakhstan's saigas, which stood at around a million in the 1980s, has now decreased to some 137,000.

-- Farangis Najibullah

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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