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Chinese Zoo’s African Lion is Actually a Big, Fluffy Dog

In the last two decades, the number of African lions in the world has dropped by nearly half. But not to let a pesky issue like species decline get in the way of their animal offerings, one zoo in China has taken an interesting step to round out their exhibit — by trying to pass a fluffy dog off as a ferocious lion.

The BBC reports that the zoo, located in Louhe City, enlisted a long, golden-haired Tibetan mastiff as a stand-in for the iconic big cat. For those unfamiliar with what lions are suppose to look like, or who forgot their glasses, the canine’s appearance might have been convincing enough, but when the ‘lion’ opened its mouth, the ruse was quickly up.

According to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily, the fraud came to light when a mother visited the zoo, in a park in the city of Louhe, to show her son the sounds different animals made.

But when they got to the cage marked “African lion” – which had a sign describing the range and characteristics of the animal – they were shocked to hear the creature bark.

Visitors expecting to see the king of the jungle were none too happy to find man’s best friend in its place: “The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us. They are trying to disguise dogs as lions,” said one woman.

Zoo officials say that the dog was only being used as a temporary replacement; their actual lion, so it seems, was on a brief hiatus from the exhibit and was instead at a nearby breeding center. Still, as many iconic species, including dozens of the world’s big cats, are harder to come by due to diminishing populations in the wild, counterfeit creature on exhibit at zoos just might be a future trend.

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Read more: Dogs, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Pets, Videos, Videos

Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 faungg

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

163 comments

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5:09AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

thanks for sharing

1:44PM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Close the zoos................... and stop exploiting animals

8:59AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Makes you wonder.

4:12AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Great story. Thanks.

10:09PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

Never under estimate the power of Chinese ingenuity. Don and I CAN! :-))

9:32PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

They shouldn't have put a dog in place of a lion. That is stupid deceiving the people like that. If the lion was away for that time period then leave it empty. Better yet, don't have the zoo at all.

6:18PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard. Do they actually think people can be fooled that easily.....people should boycott zoos and all circuses that use animals.

11:19AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

What about closing those zoos?

9:32AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

I don't think they could be fooled foe long.

5:23AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

Grazie.

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