The People’s Park in the Chinese city of Luohe, Henan province, is said to offer a wide range of exotic animals including lions, snakes, leopards, and wolves. However, the zoo has recently been forced to apologize after visitors heard a lion, a usually majestic, roaring animal, barking.
After further investigation, it was found that this big cat was in fact a member of staff’s dog, a Tibetan mastiff, which was being passed off as one of the animal kingdom’s most fearsome creatures. According to zoo staff, the reason behind their deceit was that they couldn’t afford a genuine lion. However, it doesn’t end there.
Elsewhere around the zoo, a white dog was described as a timber wolf (at least use a husky if you’re going to try and fool people!) and a fox was used as an imitation “leopard.” Most desperate of all was the zoo’s attempt to disguise a couple of rats as – wait for it – snakes! No wonder patrons left disappointed and feeling cheated, demanding for their money back.
Reasons behind this not-so-smart deception, according to a spokesman for the zoo, was that staff were doing their best in tough economic times. They couldn’t afford animals such as lions and leopards so they had to make do with what they could get their hands on. Another excuse was that the dogs used were pets of the staff and put in enclosures for safety.
The zoo has been forced to apologize and give full refunds. They have made news around the world for their ridiculous fraud and most certainly tarnished the name of their business. However. perhaps this scam is the publicity that the zoo needed to get the public through the doors. Maybe people will eventually get a laugh out of going to a zoo and seeing “lions” bark.