A Chinese Zoo Tried To Pass Off This Huge, Fluffy Dog As A Lion

There was also a rat in the snake's cage and a fox in the leopard's den.

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The People's Park Zoo in Luohe, Henan, made international headlines Thursday after Chinese newspapers reported the zoo was trying to disguise a dog as an African lion.

The "lion" was really a Tibetan mastiff. Visitors reportedly called the zoo's bluff when they heard the animal bark.

ED JONES / Getty Images

A Tibetan mastiff dog at a mastiff show in Baoding, Hebei province, south of Beijing on March 9, 2013.

Ticket buyers were outraged. "To use a dog to impersonate a lion is definitely an insult to tourists," a visitor named Sharon Liu told reporters. "The zoo is absolutely cheating us."

Tibetan mastiffs are hugely popular in China, selling for as much as $750,000. Puppies are smuggled in from the Himalayan plateau, despite many veterinarians arguing that the huge dogs are "unsuitable" as household pets in the climate.

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at jessica.testa@buzzfeed.com.

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