The ‘Lion’ That’s Really a Dog

A Chinese zoo put a Tibetan mastiff in the lion cage, but offered no explanation for the switch

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Ed Jones / AFP / Getty Images

The Tibetan mastiff shown here is the same breed of dog that a Chinese zoo tried to pass off as a lion. Nice try.

A mother and her son were surprised when the “African lion” at a zoo in China’s Henan province started barking at them. Now the zoo in the People’s Park of Luohe, China, is under fire for attempting to pass off ordinary animals for exotic ones. The “lion” turned out to be a Tibetan mastiff, which belonged to one of the zoo’s workers. There was another dog in the wolf cage, rats in the snake cage and a white fox where leopards were meant to be.

(MORE: Dining on the Wild Side: Florida Restaurant Pulls Lion Tacos from Its Menu)

There was no official explanation for the change of exhibits, but a zookeeper said the lion had been sent to a breeding center. A reporter at the Telegraph’s Beijing bureau suggests that, “Chinese zoos have struggled to make money in recent years, after a government ruling that animal shows should cease and that they should operate on a non-profit basis.” The animal switcheroo may have been envisioned as a cost-saving measure albeit one that visitors to the zoo weren’t keen on. One visitor was quoted in Beijing Youth Daily as saying: “The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us. They are trying to disguise dogs as lions.”

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14 comments
ArielTheBaller
ArielTheBaller

the idea of a barking lion sounds pretty creative though. A new hybrid of a dog/cat family breed combined. Is that possible?

AmandaFlowers
AmandaFlowers

For all the liberals being so careful about black vs white discrimination in recent months - i see a lot of freely spouted ignorant racism against the Chinese from both sides constantly.  Hypocrites ~ you should be ashamed of yourselves.

smason
smason

Not sure if this is funny or sad.

cyretired
cyretired

They have knock offs for everything else.

NatTy
NatTy

This lion was made in China

BoS
BoS

Interesting. The Chinese can built iPads, iPhones, and a million other devices but can't tell the difference between a lion and a dog. Go figure.

JeffKrogue
JeffKrogue

They needed to trim all the hair below the neck, not even a good chinese knock off.

SkipperSam
SkipperSam

Lions go woof woof and chase sticks ?

onnybranvo
onnybranvo

I guess the lions in the zoo must be on the menu in Chinese restaurants and "traditional" Chinese medicine. Can't really blame the zoo keepers to seek for other alternatives.

alastes
alastes

Well the rats in the snake cage makes perfect sense. Snakes gotta eat.

alastes
alastes

@onnybranvo True...but aren't the dogs also on the menu there too? Next it will be a cat, or a "mini lion". Which would make more sense anyways since they are just big cats.