Sharon Liu and her son were visiting People’s Park Zoo in the central province of Henan, and were hoping to see the majestic African lion in all its glory.

When the “lion” started yapping (not roaring) they realised that they’d been fleeced.

It sounds ludicrous that a zoo would even think they could get away with swapping a lion for a Tibetan mastiff, but that’s not the only thing they tried.

The zoo also tried to pass off a white fox in the leopard pen (come on now, they’re not even the same colour), a dog in the wolf pen (alright, that’s closer, but still stupid), and two coypu rodents in the snake enclosure (huh?). 

Liu Suya, chief of the park’s animal department, claimed that they do have a lion but it had been taken to a breeding facility. Sure it had. The Tibetan mastiff actually belonged to an employee and was being temporarily housed in the zoo over safety concerns.

Well that explains everything. As one zoo official said, “If visitors need to know, then we will tell them.”

Lazy. They could have just put up a sign saying: “Our lion is temporarily a dog. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

Image: Getty Images