A dog posing as a lion was exposed recently at China's Henan Province zoo when visitors observed the animal, which the zoo reportedly labeled an "African Lion," barking at onlookers as they walked by the exhibit.
The dog, which belonged to a zoo employee, was a red-haired Tibetan mastiff that was placed in the cage after the exhibit's actual lion was temporarily relocated to a breeding facility, a zoo official told a local Chinese newspaper, the BBC reported
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The Beijing Youth Daily reported that the discovery was made by a mother, Sharon Liu, who while bringing her 6-year-old son around to random exhibits so to show him the varying sounds made by animals at the zoo, was taken aback when the dog began barking at them.
"The zoo is absolutely cheating us," Liu, who was charged $2.45 for admission, told state-run Beijing Youth Daily. "They are trying to disguise the dogs as lions."
The Tibetan mastiff, which can reach a shoulder height of up to 32 inches and weigh up to 180 pounds, often has a mane of thick hair around its neck and shoulder area that can be accentuated to resemble that of a lion's. The ancient breed originated in China around 1100 BC and is known for its protective, domineering personality, according to the American Kennel Club
Further inquiry into the fraud at the zoo found that other exhibits also misidentified animals, ABC News reported
, such as a white fox being put into a leopard’s den, and another dog living in a wolf’s pen.
This isn't the first time a dog has been mistaken for a lion.
In January, a concerned citizen called police and reported a lion roaming the streets of Norfolk, Va.
The animal turned out to be a Labradoodle – a cross between a poodle and Labrador retriever – with a lion's cut clipping, in which a dog's torso is shaved while the hair around the head and neck area is combed out to resemble a mane and the animal's hair on the tip of the tail is puffed out.
The dog in question, named Charles the Monarch, is owned by Daniel Painter, a loyal fan of nearby Old Dominion University, which has a lion monarch for its sports team.
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