A Chinese zoo tried to pass off a golden retriever as a lion

A Chinese zoo once tried to convince visitors that a caged golden retriever was, in fact, a fierce lion.

A viral video shared on the state-run social media platform Weibo captured the moment patrons of a zoo in Xichang, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, encountered the distinctly canine-looking lion.

Footage taken by a man, known by his last name Tang, showed the pup sitting patiently inside a cage at Yuanjiashan Zoo, where he had taken his child on a day out.

He shared the video following the unusual encounter on Saturday, March 27, 2021.

The dad explained that he had initially suspected he had taken his child to the wrong place before reading the information on the front of the dog’s cage.

He said that after “walking around the cage” he had “realised it is where the lion should be housed”.

He was heard asking whether the animal was an “African lion” and quizzed a worker, asking if it looked unusual “because it hasn’t grown up yet”.

The worker told Tang the dog’s presence was a temporary arrangement as the lions had been moved while their enclosures were modified.

They added that they were waiting to remove the lion signage from the enclosure’s exterior.

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But an annoyed Tang pushed the issue further and accused the zoo of trying to hoodwink potential customers.

He claimed the zoo was trying to sell the tickets under the pretence that visitors would be able to see lions.

Tang said: “The money for the ticket is a small deal. What matters [to] me more is that I don’t know how to explain the current situation to my kid.”

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Allegations against Chinese zoos have drawn media attention recently after people accused another location of exhibiting a Sun Bear that was actually a costumed man.

Hangzhou Zoo was forced to deny the claims after viral footage circulated online showing the Malaysian bear standing on its hind legs, with its sagging skin giving the appearance of a loose-fitting suit.

The zoo sent a statement typed from Angela the bear’s perspective, saying some people “think I stand like a person”, adding: “It seems you don’t understand me very well.”

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