Around Asia: Chinese zoo has fake, barking, lion


Visitors at a Chinese zoo excited to see a majestic African lion were outraged when the animal started barking.

The furry animal in the cage was in fact a Tibetan mastiff dog which staff at the zoo in Henan province believed could pass as a lion.

The mastiff – a huge dog breed – could very well look like a lion by its size. But the animal gave itself away when, instead of roaring like the “king of the jungle”, it suddenly barked.

A woman who came to see the lion to teach her son the different animal sounds was surprised when she heard the “lion” bark.

“The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us. They are trying to disguise dogs as lions,” Liu, the woman identified by surname, was quoted by Beijing Youth Daily as saying.

The People’s Park of Luohe animal department chief said the zoo did have a genuine lion but that it had been sent away to a breeding facility and the dog was only temporarily placed in its cage.

Other creatures at the zoo were apparently also “disguised”. Two rodents were in the snake enclosure while a white fox was in the leopard cage.

According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese zoo officials staged other animal impersonations such as painting dogs black and white to make them look like pandas.

“People would want to know what they could think of next. Earthworms as pythons?” a Chinese blogger said.

by Maesie Bertumen

Photo: faungg/Flickr



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