Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Zoogoers Outraged After Finding Out ‘Pandas’ Were Actually Dyed Dogs

A zoo in China is under fire after visitors discovered they dyed a couple of dogs black and white to resemble panda bears.

Videos of the encounter, which have since been posted to Chinese social media, show two ‘pandas’ in an exhibit at the new Taizhou Zoo, which recently opened in Jiangsu province on May 1. While the animals are dyed to resemble giant pandas, the international symbol of China, visitors quickly notice their wagging tails, which tells another story.

According to Zoo officials, the dogs were Chows Chows, a large fluffy breed that originates from northern China. They were dyed black and white to resemble China’s endemic pandas, though the zoo maintains they did not make any false claims as the animals were always advertised as ‘panda dogs’ and not ‘pandas’.

chowchows
A pair of Chow Chows was dyed black and white to resemble giant pandas at a zoo in Jiangsu province

The ‘panda dogs’ are currently still at the exhibit at the zoo, where groups of people are coming to see them on a regular basis.

Despite that, the zoo, which does not have any real giant pandas, has been criticized by zoogoers and state media for misleading guests and mistreating the dogs.

panda dogs
Zoo officials claim they have not made any false claims about the animals as they had always referred to them as ‘panda dogs’

One commenter wrote on Weibo that ‘it’s not funny to dye [those dogs] just to attract tourists’. They said they have naturally thick coats and ‘fragile skin’, which makes them prone to skin infections.

Officials from the zoo, however, maintains they have not harmed the dogs in the process. One spokesperson compared it to ‘normal people dying their hair’ and claimed the dog’s fur ‘is the same as hair’.

Other ‘Fake Animal’ Incidents In China

This is not the first time that dogs were dyed to resemble giant pandas in China.

In 2019, a dog café located in Sichuan province came under fire after they dyed six Chow Chows black and white to look like pandas.

In 2020, a video showing a woman walking a ‘panda’ went viral on Chinese social media. It was later revealed to be another Chow Chow whose fur was dyed black and white by its owner.

Several other zoos in China have also been accused of keeping ‘fake animals’. In 2013, a zoo in the Henan province replaced a lion with a Tibetan mastiff dog after the former was sent to a breeding center. The ‘lion’ was quickly exposed as a fraud once it started barking at visitors from its exhibit.

fake lion
A Tibetan mastiff dog was advertised as an ‘African Lion’ in a zoo in Henan province after the genuine lion was sent to a breeding center

More recently last year, a zoo in Zhejiang province was accused of dressing up humans as Malayan sun bears after a video of the ‘animals’ standing up went viral online. However, experts quickly debunked the accusation, citing that it would be impossible for someone to dress up in a fur suit in such high summer temperatures.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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