China zoo has fake lion

BEIJING (AP)

Behold the regal lion and hear its mighty … bark?

A zoo in the central China city of Luohe attempted to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as a lion, state media reported. The large, aggressive breed has a trademark bushy mane that gives it a lion-like appearance, but its vocalizations are more woof than roar.

The Beijing Youth Daily said Friday the zoo also had a dog in the wolf cage, foxes in the leopard enclosure and nutrias in the snake den.

Though the zoo said it wasn’t trying to fool anyone, it issued an apology to the public and closed for “rectification,” reported another newspaper, the Beijing News. It also planned to reorganize its public-private management structure, although the details were still being worked out, the newspaper said.

The Beijing Youth Daily quoted zoo manager Liu Suya as denying any attempt at deception, saying the lion had been lent out for breeding and would be back soon. The dog belonged to a friend of a zoo keeper who was on a business trip and needed a place to keep his pet while away, Liu said.

Liu said the leopard had also been lent out for breeding, while the snake and wolf were merely sheltering from the torrid summer heat. The substitute animals had been drafted because an empty cage would have “looked bad,” Liu said.

“If visitors require an explanation, we’d be happy to give it to them,” Liu said.

Calls to the zoo rang unanswered. The facility, with more than 20 animals on display, sits inside the city’s People’s Park and is co-run by the municipal government and a private contractor.

The Beijing Youth Daily said it was informed of the odd situation by a zoo visitor who had been taking her son around the enclosures to teach him the sounds that various animals make.

“He said they were fooling us because the ‘lion’ was actually barking,” the visitor was quoted as saying. “The sign clearly said African lion so I can only think that this was an attempt to fool the visitor.”

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  1. Daniel says:

    中国这么大, 人口这么多, 有这样的事情发生, 虽然不对,但也不出奇. 出奇的是为何KTSF 26 频度的新闻只会报道大陆的人为负面新闻. 我也明白到负面新闻才有更大的卖座, 但是也不能倒面性地只报道中国大陆的负面新闻而完全不报道正面新闻. 难道中国没有一些正面的人为? KTSF 26 也会报道一些其他地方,例如香港,的正面新闻. 虽然不多, 但也有报道. 不知道KTSF是否有意如此或过于忽视.

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