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Soccer oracle Octopus Paul honored by Spanish town

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VANESSA GERA | July 22, 2010 10:52 AM EST | AP

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BERLIN — Psychic octopus Paul – still basking in the glory of his perfect World Cup predictions – is heading off to a new job as a fundraiser for sea turtles.

The eight-legged oracle was declared an "honorary friend" of a Spanish town in a ceremony at his German aquarium Thursday and presented with gifts including a bronze statuette modeled on his own likeness.

Paul correctly predicted the outcome of all seven of Germany's games plus Spain's victory over the Netherlands in the final. That turned him into a much-loved mollusk in Spain, a country where octopus is better known as a culinary delicacy.

Carlos Montes, mayor of the northwestern Spanish town of O Carballino, presented Paul with the statuette, a silver plaque and a football shirt with the number eight, said Tanja Munzig, a spokeswoman for the Sea Life aquarium in Oberhausen.

The number refers to his eight correct World Cup predictions, Spain's goal tally during the World Cup and to the number of Paul's limbs.

"Paul swam around and was certainly pleased with the gifts," Munzig said.

The aquarium also announced Thursday that Paul now has an agent and will be using his name to help endangered turtles on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

"It's a great chance for an animal to help other animals," said Chris Davis, Paul's agent.

Yannis Vardakastanis of the environmental group Earth, Sea and Sky promised he will never eat octopus again if Paul raises enough money to build a rescue station for the turtles.

"And everyone knows what that means for me, because there are no other people who like to eat octopus as much as the Greeks," he said.