Princess the camel has bad news for Eagles fans:
The New York Giants are going to win tomorrow's playoff game.
You laugh, but consider this: Princess was right on 14 of her 17 picks during the regular season, according to John Bergmann, general manager of Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River, N.J., where Princess resides.
She correctly picked the Eagles to defeat the Minnesota Vikings Sunday and the Giants to win last year's Super Bowl, he says.
All by eating Keebler Honey Grahams out of Bergmann's hands.
Each week, for an Ocean County radio station, Bergman gets Princess to make her pick on a game that features the Eagles, the Giants or the New York Jets.
Bergmann writes the name of one team in marker on one palm and the opponent's name on the other palm. He then puts a graham cracker in each hand.
"Whichever one she picks first is her pick, simple as that," said Bergmann, 54, of West Creek, N.J.
Princess, who was the beloved pet of the tobacco heiress Doris Duke, knows nothing about football, Bergmann acknowledged yesterday.
"We're trying to get someone to donate a nice flat-screen TV for her to watch the games," he said.
Although he is a fan, he said, he doesn't believe he's tipping Princess off.
Early in the season, he said, "she picked the Raiders to beat the Jets, and I'm thinking, there's her first loss." But Oakland won.
She also picked the Jets to beat the 10-0 Tennessee Titans, and Bergmann was shocked when the New Yorkers pulled the upset.
How does Princess do it?
"I have no idea, but I'll tell you what, in three years of doing it, she's pretty good," he said.
Except, it seems, that she underestimates the Eagles.
After going 12-1 in the regular season, she picked the Giants to beat the Eagles. The Birds won, 20-14.
She also picked the Dallas Cowboys to triumph on Dec. 28, but Philadelphia won overwhelmingly, 44-6.
Lots of people have requested that Princess accompany them to the Atlantic City casinos, Bergmann said.
Popcorn Park Zoo has been operating outside Toms River since the late 1970s, when it grew from a pet shelter into a sanctuary for wildlife and exotic animals. Bergmann has been there from the start.
Duke died in 1993, and her estate cared for her two camels for years, until one died. Then Princess, now 21, was given to the zoo.
"She's a real, real sweetheart," Bergmann said. "Most camels, people will tell you, are dangerous. They bite. They can spit. They can kick. . . . She's like a dog. She's just very, very tame."