Chinese Zoo Dog: African Lion Replaced By Tibetan Mastiff, People’s Park Visitors Not Happy After ‘King Of Jungle’ Barks [VIDEO]

By Philip Ross on August 15, 2013 12:00 PM EDT

chinese zoo dog
A Chinese zoo dog gained attention (and criticism) after wildlife park visitors discovered that the ferocious “African Lion” they were looking at was actually a Tibetan mastiff, like the one pictured here at a dog beauty contest in China. (Photo: Reuters)

A Chinese zoo dog is a true master of disguise -- or at least that's what zookeepers were aiming for. At a wildlife park in China, zookeepers tried to pass off a dog as an African lion. But park visitors weren't impressed by the silly bait-and-switch, and criticized the Chinese zoo dog as a cheap hoax.

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According to local reports, staff members at People's Park in Luohe in China's Henan province thought they could trick zoo visitors into thinking a Tibetan mastiff was an African lion. The furry Chinese zoo dog had a lion-like mane of fur and was similar in color to its feline counterpart, but still -- it was clearly a canine!

The imposter King of the Jungle broke its cover when it did what most dogs do -barked.

Unfortunately for the zoo, the stunt didn't go over so well with park guests, who apparently became annoyed after the ferocious "African lion," a.k.a. the Chinese zoo dog, started yapping instead of roaring.

"I feel the zoo tricked me with putting a dog in a lion exhibit," one park visitor, identified only by the surname Liu, told the Orient Today. "I paid good money to see the lion and all I got to see was a dog."

"I don't know how they've got the nerve to try it," another visitor carped. "They must think we are all stupid."

According to the The Daily Mail, the bogus African lion wasn't the zoo's only sham. Another Chinese zoo dog was placed in a timber wolf's cage, and a third pooch posed as a leopard in the big cat enclosure.

Staff also swapped two snakes at the reptile house with two giant sea cucumbers.

And how did the zoo respond to visitors' complaints about the fraudulent Chinese zoo dog?

News.com.au reports that the chief of the park's animal department, Liu Suya, assured them that the zoo did in fact have a lion, but it was away at a breeding facility. The Chinese zoo dog posing as the real lion belonged to an employee, Suya said, and was put there "for safety reasons."

"We're doing our best in tough economic times," a spokesperson for the zoo told reporters. "If anyone is unhappy with our displays we will give back their money."

Here's footage of the Chinese zoo dog as seen in this YouTube video from a Chinese news network (sorry we didn't translate the footage for you, but our language expert is out for the day. He's been replaced with a very convincing ostrich, though).

Read more from iScience Times:

Sumatran Tiger Cubs: Two Cubs Born At National Zoo, A Rarity For The Critically Endangered Species

'Bloodsicles:' Zookeepers In Wyoming Give Carnivorous Cats Frozen Blood Pops To Beat The Heat [VIDEO]

Panda Twins Born In US: Watch Mother Lun Lun Give Birth To Adorable Endangered Duo At Zoo Atlanta [VIDEO]

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