Tiger picks Ducks to feast on Wildcats in Fiesta

PHOENIX — Take it from the tiger: The Oregon Ducks will devour the Kansas State Wildcats in Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl.

Hadiah, a female Sumatran Tiger, made her prediction Wednesday at the Phoenix Zoo. Zoo personnel arranged for the prediction by placing identical treats — meat and fish — in two cardboard boxes, one each with a logo of Oregon or Kansas State on it.

Hadiah went for the Oregon box first, indicating her “prediction,” but then proceeded to tear into the Kansas State box to retrieve a snack.

“We had seen this done at other zoos around the country and we just thought it was a really fun way to try to get the community and our animals involved in something that happens here every year,” Phoenix Zoo public relations and marketing manager Linda Hardwick said. “We started doing it a couple years ago, and it’s really just something that’s taken off.”

Hadiah has a track record.

The Zoo also had her predict the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last week, and she correctly chose Michigan State over Texas Christian.

Two years ago, however, Hadiah incorrectly predicted an Oregon victory over Auburn in the BCS Championship Game. (Maybe she’s got a thing for the color green.) That same year, she correctly chose Iowa’s upset of Missouri in what was then the Insight Bowl.

Hadiah was benched last year in favor of a 5-year-old Bornean orangutan, Kasih, which made its predictions by picking up one of two footballs. The orangutan went 1 for 2, correctly predicting Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl but missing on Stanford in the Fiesta.

Hardwick said if Hadiah’s Oregon prediction proves correct, she’ll likely get a chance to keep her streak alive next year.

“I think she definitely will have to do it again,” Hardwick said. “Plus she’s very good at it. She’s very interactive, very curious just by nature.”

The World Wildlife Fund categorizes the Sumatran Tiger, which originate on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, as a “critically endangered” species. The WWF estimates less than 400 still exist in the world, down from scientific estimates of roughly 1,000 in 1978. Other estimates say about half those Sumatran Tigers live in captivity.

Should she ace this year’s test, Hadiah will still have some work to do to establish her chops among the animal kingdom’s top prognosicators. Animal “prediction” of sporting events garnered international attention and popularity in 2010 when an octopus, Paul, at the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, correctly predicted all of the German national team’s World Cup matches as well as the World Cup Final.