China’s penchant for counterfeiting has hit a new high with a zoo in Shandong admitting it keeps a dog as part of its wolf exhibit in order to “create more fun for tourists”.
The sheep’s clothing was exposed by a visitor to the Dezhou Zoo on Tuesday. Mr. Wang noticed one of the animals at the wolf exhibit was limping on its front paw, which led to suspicions that something else was wrong.
As seen in a video uploaded online, the wounded animal didn’t resemble the other wolves in the enclosure as it had longer hair and a larger stature. Wang suggested the animal may have been bitten by the other wolves because it doesn’t fit in.
After thousands of netizens expressed concern for the injured animal, the Dezhou Zoo released a statement admitting the injured animal was in fact a dog.
“It is true that we keep a Siberian husky in our wolf den, and the dog was introduced to the zoo along with the wolves to create more fun for tourists. The dog is also respected among the wolves,” read a statement released by the zoo. The statement countered Wang’s suggestion by adding the dog had been living with the wolves for over two months, and has learned to fit in with them.
The zoo said they had isolated the injured dog from the wolves and are giving it medical attention.
A zookeeper for the Dezhou Zoo said the injured animal is a husky-wolf hybrid that could be considered either a dog or a wolf.
A Luohe, Henan zoo was also caught keeping a dog in its wolf exhibit in 2013, but had angered zoo visitors the most by attempting to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as an African lion. The Beijing Youth Daily quoted zoo manager Liu Suya as explaining that the dog belonged to a friend of a zookeeper who needed a place to keep his pet, while actual lion was out for breeding.
This fall, Chinese zoos have repeatedly come under fire for its treatment of its animals. The Taiyuan Zoo was criticized for allowing its pandas to eat garbage thrown to it by zoo visitors, while the Lanzhou Zoo was criticized after its panda was spotted with a bloody wound on its back. Just last week, a man wrestled with a panda after jumping into its enclosure at the Nanjing Zoo.