Wildlife TV

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Chinese Zoo tries to pass off dog as an African Lion

on August 16, 2013

One of the my favourite places to go visit as a kid was the Zoo. I don’t like seeing animals in captivity but when growing up in Europe there’s not many other options to see African animals. As long as the animals are being treated properly and the zoo providing an educational program for the visitors I like to think they are helping our planet by making sure the younger generations sees and falls in love with the species and, hopefully, later on help out in conservation and ecology projects.

But things can go wrong if the zoo is not properly managed or like the following one in China, tries to deceive the visitors.

A zoo in a park in Louhe, situated in the central province of Henan, China, decided that not having an African lion should not be a reason to not display an African lion.. Instead they found it fitting to put a Tibetan Mastiff in the enclosure and just call it a lion. Hopefully no one would notice right? At least not until the dog started barking..

I’ve seen many lions in captivity and in the wild and if there is something I can assure you is that African lions do not bark.. They might roar, growl and sometimes even meow, but they definitely do not woof..

Check out below the poor dog that was chosen to work as a lion substitute.


Tibetan Mastiff playing the role of an African Lion at the Louhe Zoo in China.

Tibetan Mastiff playing the role of an African Lion at the Louhe Zoo in China.
Photo Credits


It is definitely a pretty dog but this is how an African lion (Panthera leo) is supposed to look like:


Male Lion (Panthera leo), the king of the jungle, wandering around the savannah


And if you think that the Chinese staff at the zoo decided that having an animal posing as another animal was enough, you are very wrong.
They also had a white fox pretending to be a Leopard, dogs pretending to be wolves and rats as snakes.

I’m shocked at how they thought any of these trades would fool anyone..

Their excuse was that the lion and the leopard were both away on a breeding program and would be back soon and in the meanwhile the dog and the fox were filling in for them. I wonder what was their excuse for the rats posing as snakes..

Such a strange strange planet we live in..


Até à próxima.



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7 responses to “Chinese Zoo tries to pass off dog as an African Lion

  1. Giggletree says:

    But just look at the environment that poor dog/lion is kept in, that is an empty concrete cage with nowhere to lie and no stimulation whatsoever. Whether it’s a dog or a lion, that’s cruelty IMHO.

    • Wildlife TV says:

      Yes, you are right. Any animal kept in that situation is cruel, whether it’s a dog or an African Lion.
      At least this case got public and they had to do something about the situation. Hopefully the dog is, at this moment, enjoy some resting time in someone’s couch or backyard.


  2. I agree with your ideas about zoos – the ones we have visited in the Netherlands and Germany seem to have the right ideas about breeding and welfare. This story is pretty unbelievable – the rats as snakes is the hardest to get my head around! lol

    That poor mastif looks like he could use a lot of TLC 😦 so sad to see animals (even if they are posing as other animals!) not taken care of

  3. Working at a zoo, this makes me really sad to see. This is part of what gives zoos a bad name. While I am entirely for animals staying the wild, for many animals captivity is a better life for them. I am now switching departments, but I was apart of education and it was my job to teach children and adults about animals and conservation. My only hope is that the zoos that are in business are ones that are caring and educational. And as Sofia said, hopefully the things I have taught to guests will one day help make the wild a safe place again.

    • Wildlife TV says:

      Thank you for your comment.
      It’s always good to see the perspective of someone that works at a Zoo.
      I did almost a year of volunteering with primates in a zoo and found out some good things and some bad things while working there but in general we can observe how there has been an evolution of the zoo experience and enclosure quality.
      I remember as a kid going to the zoo and seeing animals in cages, now it’s almost a rarity, the environment is designed thinking more about the animals’ well being and less on the visitor experience. Forcing animals to be viewed at all times and deny them a safe area to hide and feel secure if they feel too exposed is now viewed as animal abuse, something that wasn’t even taken into account just a few decades ago.


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