In 2013, a Chinese Zoo was accused of cheating park visitors by trying to pass off “substitute” animals as the real thing – such as presenting a Tibetan mastiff dog as an African Lion.
Many visitors were apparently fooled by the large dog’s appearance – until it started barking.
The People’s Park of Luohe in the province Henan was said to be replacing other exotic species with common “substitute” animals. Such substitutions have been reported at other Chinese zoos, such as dogs being dyed black and white to look like pandas.
A zoo administrator attempted to explain by stating that the lions had been temporarily moved to another zoo to breed, and that the dog was merely a pet. The administrator did not explain why other cages were also mislabeled as well. Yu Hua, head of the zoo, said that the signs for the cages would be “promptly corrected.”
Visitors were not happy. One guest told reporters, “To use a dog to impersonate a lion is definitely an insult to tourists.”
- Henan zoo under fire for trying to pass off dog as African lion (Joanna Chiu, South China Morning Post: August 15, 2013)
- China Zoo Under Fire for Disguising Dog as Lion (The Jakarta Globe: August 15, 2013)
- Chinese zoo tries passing off dog as an ‘African lion’ (Eric Pfeiffer, Yahoo News: August 15, 2013)
Updated May 1, 2015
Originally published August 2013