herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Oh what a howler... zoo lion is a dog

A Tibetan mastiff in a cage with a sign reading
A Tibetan mastiff in a cage with a sign reading "African lion" in Luohe zoo, central China. Photo: AP

IT'S BARKING mad – the zoo that attempted to pass off a dog as a lion.

The dog, a Tibetan mastiff, is a large, aggressive breed with a trademark bushy mane that gives it a lion-like appearance. But unfortunately for the zoo in China, its sounds are more woof than roar.

The zoo also had a dog in the wolf cage, foxes in the leopard enclosure and river rats in the snake den.

Manager Liu Suya denied any attempt of 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 needed a place to keep his pet while away, Liu said.

Liu said the leopard had been lent out for breeding, while the snake and wolf were sheltering from the heat.

The substitute animals had been drafted because an empty cage would have "looked bad".

hnews@herald.ie

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