NJ's Pigskin-Picking Camel Dies Before Picking Super Bowl Winner

New Jersey's pigskin-picking camel has died just weeks before the Super Bowl.

Princess, a fixture at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township for 10 years, gained fame for picking winners in football games.

Zoo manager John Bergmann tells the Asbury Park Press the 2,000-pound Bactrian camel was euthanized after arthritis made it impossible for the 26-year-old animal to stand.

The camel's prognostication skills stemmed from her love of graham crackers. Bergmann would place a cracker and write the name of competing teams on each hand. Whichever hand Princess nibbled was her pick for that week.

Princess made picks all the way up to last week’s playoff game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos.

“Her absence leaves a big void in the park,” Bergmann told the paper. “It was not just her size, but her personality, and to not have her here leaves a big hole.”

The Popcorn Park Zoo put together a memorial page to Princess with this message:

"She was a prognosticator extraordinaire, known around the nation and, actually, the world, for her ability to select winning football teams particularly in the Super Bowl. She was a friend and a companion to all who work at or visit Popcorn Park Refuge. And she never met a graham cracker she didn't like. But time has a way of being cruel, especially as our animals grow older and aging takes away their strength and ability to enjoy their lives."

Princess was once the personal pet of tobacco heiress Doris Duke. After Duke's death in 1993, the camel stayed on her estate in Hillsborough until she was given to the zoo.

A public memorial is in the works.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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