Chinese zoo embarrassed after attempting to pass off golden retriever dog as an African lion

·2-min read

Visitors to a zoo in southwestern China were left shocked and confused when they saw a golden retriever in a cage intended to accommodate an African lion.

In a video clip that circulated widely on social media this week, a man only identified by his surname Tang, took his child to visit Yuanjiashan Zoo in Xichang, Sichuan, on Saturday but was startled when they found a golden retriever in the African lion enclosure, despite signage introducing the animal as a feline.

“At first, we thought we had gone to the wrong place. But after walking around the cage, we realised it is where the lion should be housed,” Tang said in the video.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

The cage sign advertising an African lion in the cage. Photo: Handout
The cage sign advertising an African lion in the cage. Photo: Handout

“Is that an African lion? Is it because it hasn’t grown up yet? It looks familiar to me,” he joked.

A worker of the zoo told Tang that the cage had housed a lion in the past, however, the animal had been moved to another location, he said.

“We are adjusting the animals’ accommodations, with the lion’s sign not taken down [from the cage] yet,” said the worker in the video.

However, Tang said he did not accept this. He accused the zoo of selling tickets promoting lions. He also said he found no lions anywhere else in the zoo.

“The money for the ticket is a small deal. What matters [to] me more is that I don’t know how to explain the current situation to my kid,” said Tang.

The placid looking golden retriever seen in the video wearing a harness in the lion enclosure. Photo: Handout
The placid looking golden retriever seen in the video wearing a harness in the lion enclosure. Photo: Handout

It’s not the first time a mainland zoo has tried to substitute animals with other species at their facilities.

Earlier this month, Xiangwushan Zoo of Xianning, Hubei, was exposed for putting a Rottweiler in a wolf’s cage. The zoo’s management said a wolf had lived there before it died because of old age, the Liaoshen Evening News reported.

Two years ago, Jiufengshan Forest Zoo in Wuhan was criticised for deceiving visitors by placing a dog in a wolf’s enclosure.

The zoo claimed there was a wolf there, although not often seen by visitors. The dog was supposedly in the yard so that the wolf wouldn’t get lonely.

“People only saw the dog as the wolf likes to sleep during day time and the dog is more active than the wolf,” the zoo told Jiangxi TV.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Chinese zoo embarrassed after attempting to pass off golden retriever dog as an African lion first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting