Animal welfare campaigners condemn aquarium for euthanising healthy octopus after World Cup predictions failure

Gatwick Aquarium's owner has defended his decision to destroy the mollusc soothsayer after failing to predict the result of a single World Cup group stage match correctly.


Joe Douglas Home

12/4/20221 min read

MAIN ATTRACTION: A printed leaflet advertising Gatwick Aquarium. (Betty Bovine/Winston Churchill Memorial Photo Library)

An aquarium in West Sussex has sparked condemnation from animal charities and welfare groups after euthanizing an apparently healthy octopus after it failed to predict a single correct result across the 48 group stage matches of the FIFA World Cup currently being held in Qatar.

Oliver was a 2 year old common octopus that lived in captivity at Gatwick Aquarium. Promotional materials in recent months had heralded him as a 'psychic mollusc' following his successful prediction that Noble Yeats would win the 2022 Grand National in April.

It is believed the sea creature was destroyed by a lethal injection intended for bovine use.

Using animals to predict the results of sporting contests has proven popular since the success of Paul the Octopus in the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany during the 2010 World Cup.

Gatwick Aquarium owner and manager Musty Donovan, a German-born American citizen, spoke to Bazake by phone this morning. He refused to call Oliver by name for the duration of the interview, referring to him simply as, "That bitch."

"That bitch knew what he was doing," claimed Donovan. "We paid top dollar for that bitch on the belief he had psychic powers. That bitch proved he did with the horse race. Community Shield too. Then he decided to humiliate us when it came to the World Cup."

Staff at Gatwick Aquarium would line up three boxes, one for each team plus a third for draws, filled with mollusc-appropriate snacks. Whichever Oliver opened first would be considered his match prediction. These rituals would be livestreamed on a now deleted YouTube channel.

"That bitch had psychic powers," continues Donovan. "I guarantee it. You get a toddler to pick random results in 48 soccer matches, even if you're unlucky you're going to get four or five correct results. That bitch got none. He was deliberately getting them wrong to destroy my business. To make me look like a fool."

Gatwick Aquarium has drawn criticism in the past. In October 2019 campaigners claimed air pollution and noise levels due to its proximity to Gatwick Airport have killed dozens if not hundreds of sea creatures.

Then in May last year footage appeared online apparently showing fights taking place between sharks and stingrays late at night in front of a rowdy crowd with betting odds clearly visible on the tank glass.

"That was staged by animal rights nutcases," argues Donovan. "It wasn't even my aquarium. They put up the Gatwick signage with computers. Any idiot will realise this. I am an innocent man."

Donovan claims that Oliver the octopus was "humanely destroyed" but one member of staff who spoke to Bazake on the condition of anonymity revealed, "The injection they used was meant for cows. It didn't really work properly on Oliver and he was thrashing about and spasming for well over an hour. It's weird but several of us could hear him screaming, inside our heads. Begging to be put out of his misery. It got so bad that we eventually had to finish him off with a spade."

Donovan responded to this accusation, "I will find this rat and sack them. Christmas is cancelled for that family."

In an earlier version of this article we mistakenly identified the name of the anonymous source and apologise for any inconvenience caused.