Written by The Business Journal Staff
For the last 10 years or so, Marketing Manager Ciara Castellanoz said the zoo has let one of its animal’s choose which football team it thinks will be victorious.
Last year, lioness Zamaya correctly predicted that Peyton Manning would lead the Denver Broncos to victory. In 2015, Lazarus, the white-faced whistling duck wrongly bet on the Seahawks when they faced off against a hot New England team. For two years prior to that, Siabu the orangutan incorrectly chose the Broncos (2014) and 49ers (2013). Alex, another orangutan, got lucky in 2012 in picking the New York Giants after wrongly choosing the Pittsburg Steelers in 2011.
“This is a really fun way for us to get some of the community involved and more of the zoo members involved with what is going on with the Super Bowl,” said Nathaniel McIntosh, a primary carnivore keeper with the zoo.
Chisulo seemed uncertain of his pick at first, sniffing and playing with paper mache team helmets displaying each teams mascot before finally tearing into the Patriots helmet and devouring the raw meat within.
“Each one of those balls had a knucklebone in it, and Chisulo was able to pick,” McIntosh said. “He came out, went straight to the Patriots ball, then went over to the Falcons ball, nosed it a little bit, but eventually went back to the Patriots and that was the one he focused on.”
Chisulo’s pick may put him in the cathouse, as lioness Zamaya, who finished off the Atlanta Falcons treat, was born at Zoo Atlanta. McIntosh said Chisulo shouldn’t see too much backlash, however, as lioness Kiki, Zamaya’s mom, is neutral, having hailed from Santa Barbara originally.
“Zamaya might not be too happy with him for choosing the Patriots, but Kiki, on the other hand, is from Santa Barbara so she may not care a whole lot,” McIntosh said.