Handlers Behind Chinese Zoo Dog Lion Disguise Face Roaring Backlash

No, "Zoo Dog Lion" isn't Mandarin for 'African Lion,' the animal with a terrifying roar and golden mane, it's the news story that has sent ripples of laughter and disbelief throughout the world's media as it has emerged that a zoo in China - The People's Park of Luohe - placed a dog in the enclosure clearly marked "African Lion."

Visitors to the zoo in Henan province marvelled at the exhibit - a real-life lion is a true sight to behold - as they posed for photos and hoped they wouldn't get savaged by the great beast of the savannah. It appears that the zoo got away with their hoax and no one was any the wiser until the animal revealed itself as what it truly was. The game was up as soon as the remarkable, burnished gold, shaggy haired, proud...dog started to bark and the zoo's visitors released that they'd forked out 15 yuan ($2.45) to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Footage Of The "Lion":

The members of that public who paid good money to be hoodwinked have roared in fury, claiming the zoo's animal handlers took them for idiots. "The zoo is absolutely cheating us," visitor Sharon Liu told the Beijing Youth Daily, as reported by Yahoo! News. "They are trying to disguise the dogs as lions."

Since the story hit world headlines, a true nest of lies has been kicked open at the Luohe zoo. An astonishing three other species have been found to be either incorrectly labelled or a common animal passed off as an exotic species, including a dog in a wolf pen, two coypu rodents in a snake tank and a white fox in a leopard enclosure.

Lions:

This isn't the first story of animals being masqueraded as other species in China: there have been reports in the past of dogs being painted black and white to look like pandas. If there was a real lion, we wouldn't be surprised if he had escaped - the appalling enclosure the dog was being kept in was certainly no Longleat.

When questioned, the zoo's representative Liu Suya said that the zoo, now the laughing stock of the world, really does have a lion (yep, sure), he had just been taken to a breeding facility and the dog - identified as a Tibetan Mastiff - belonged to an employee who had placed him into the lion enclosure without notifying guests for safe keeping. Meanwhile, we're guessing the zoo staff had a frantic phone around to see if any of the local pet shops had a lion on sale.

Dogs:

Yu Hua, head of the park, said the signage mistakes will be "promptly corrected."


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