'African lion' gives the game away

IN THE LION'S DEN: The dog used as a substitute for an African lion at the zoo in the People's Park of Luohe, in the central province of Henan.


    Aug 16, 2013

    'African lion' gives the game away

    A CHINESE zoo's supposed "African lion" was exposed as a fraud when the dog used as a substitute started barking.

    The zoo in the People's Park of Luohe, in the central province of Henan, replaced exotic exhibits with common species, according to the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.

    It quoted a customer surnamed Liu who wanted to show her son the different sounds animals make, only to have him point out that the animal in the cage labelled "African lion" was barking.

    The beast was, in fact, a Tibetan mastiff, a large and long-haired breed of dog.

    "The zoo is absolutely cheating us," the paper quoted Liu, who was charged 15 yuan (S$3.10) for admission, as saying. "They are trying to disguise the dogs as lions."

    Other species housed incorrectly included two coypu rodents in a snake's cage, a white fox in a leopard's den, and another dog in a wolf pen.

    The chief of the park's animal department, Liu Suya, told the paper that while it does have a lion, it had been taken to a breeding facility, and the dog, which belonged to an employee, had been housed temporarily in the zoo over safety concerns.

    Users of China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo service mocked the zoo.

    "This is not funny at all. It's sad for both the zoo and the animals," said one.

    Another said: "They should at least have used a husky to pretend to be a wolf."