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Zoo animals offer up footie skills to Austrian team

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Daniel Zupanc
11:08 CEST+02:00
Several animals at the Vienna zoo were practising their football skills this week in the build up to Austria's first game in the European Championships 2016 yesterday.

With Austria losing 2-0 to Hungary last night some extra support to defend the goal might have been welcomed.

Polar bears, Siberian tigers and even a turtle have been playing football at the Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna, showing as much enthusiasm for Austria’s debut at the Euro 2016 games as the Austrian fans.

According to zoo staff, each of the animals has their own set of football skills. Both polar bears play mostly with their front two paws, so their expertise might be in scoring and defending their goal. 

“Balls are a popular activity for many of our animals. The two polar bears Lynn and Ranzo would be great support for goalie Robert Almer,” Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter wrote in the zoo’s press release.

She adds: “When the polar bears stand up, they are bigger than the goal.”

The zoo says the Siberian tigers would be the perfect defenders, as they love to play with the ball, especially when they are in water.


Image source: Daniel Zupanc

“The tigers are particularly fast while playing ballgames and defend the ball zealously against their playmate. They could easily play through to halftime,” Schratter said.

However the only animal that was directly involved in the Euro 2016 games was Schurli, the Seychelles giant tortoise.


Image source: ORF

The 120-year-old tortoise is not only the oldest animal at the Vienna Zoo but also the acting Euro 2016 oracle for „Guten Morgen Österreich“, the ORF’s morning show.

Although the animal has been alive for every single European Championship, his prediction for the Austria - Hungary game was a bit off the mark as he predicted that Austria would win their debut game.

Written by: Helena Uhl

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