The king of the dog run. (file photo via Wikipedia Commons)

Visitors to a zoo in Henan Province, China, were disappointed to find that the zoo's "African lion" was actually a Tibetan mastiff dog. Ordinarily, this would obviously be a step up, since Tibetan mastiffs are really cute and cuddly looking, but since visitors had paid to see a lion (from Africa, not lame old Tibet), they weren't impressed. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, a customer had taken her young son to see the lion and learn what sound a lion makes, and the boy correctly identified that the lion was barking.

The zoo apparently threw in some cheaper replacements for other zoo animals as well, including trying "to pass off another dog as a wolf, a white fox as a leopard, and two coypu rodents as snakes." Still, this is something of an improvement for China, which is usually trying to pass off botulism for baby formula, or a heaping pile of pig carcasses for a river, or calculated political machinations for meaningful improvements in infrastructure. In that context, wow, that's a scary lion!

The actual dog in question. Doesn't look as much like a lion as our file photo, frankly.
(photo via SCMP)

(by Shira Rachel Danan)

Sources: South China Morning Post | Times Live