The Lion that Barked

China ‘dog-lion’: Henan zoo mastiff poses as Africa cat

The sign reads “feizhou shi” (African lion) but a Tibetan mastiff is in the cage

An animal described as an African lion at a Chinese zoo was exposed as a fraud – when the creature started barking in front of visitors.

Chinese media reports said the zoo had replaced its genuine lion with a Tibetan mastiff dog.

A zoo official in Henan province said the dog – owned by one of the workers – was put in the cage when the real lion was sent away to a breeding centre.

Outraged visitors to the zoo in Louhe city said they had been cheated.

A Tibetan mastiff is a particularly hairy breed

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.

It was then that zoo keepers revealed the so-called lion was actually a Tibetan mastiff, an animal that can have a furry brown coat, making it look a little like a lion.

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