|A man holds up his Tibetan mastiff during a dog show in Shenyang, Liaoning province March 23, 2012. (REUTERS/Stringer, file)
BEIJING – A zoo in central China has been closed after visitors were outraged to discover its lion was really a bushy and barking Tibetan mastiff.
The dog was not the only fake at People's Park Zoo in the city of Luohe, which tried to pass off other common mammals and rodents as a leopard and snakes, Chinese media reported.
Photographs showed the mastiff with its muzzle poking through the bars of its dingy enclosure. A grimy sign on the cage read "African Lion" in Chinese characters.
The zoo apologized for the exhibits and was closed down for "rectification", the Beijing News said, citing local officials.
Animal rights activists have criticized Chinese zoos for their record of poor conditions and other abuses.