It seems as though a Chinese zoo barked up the wrong tree when they tried to pass off a dog as an African lion.
According to NPR, officials at the Louhe city zoo in Henan province pulled the canine caper when they placed a Tibetan mastiff dog in their popular African lion exhibit. Besides looking very different from a lion, zoo visitors were puzzled as to why the lion’s roar sounded more like a barking dog. Upon discovering the ruse, guests were in an uproar over the zoo’s lion lie. “The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us. They are trying to disguise dogs as lions,” one unidentified woman told the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.
The zoo’s ‘lion’ dog wasn’t the only sly swap perpetrated by the zoo. Patrons reported seeing a domestic dog in the wolf enclosure, rats were displayed as snakes and a white fox was placed in the leopard exhibit.
According to Tariq Tahir of metro.co.uk, Liu Suya, a spokesperson for the park’s animal department justified the sneaky switches, saying that the lion and the leopard had been temporarily removed from their exhibits and sent to breeding facilities and that the dog in the lion exhibit has merely been the lion’s “friend”. “We’re doing our best in tough economic times. If anyone is unhappy with our displays we will give back their money,” said another spokesperson for the zoo.