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Chinese Zoo Replaces Lion with a Dog

In August 2013 a public zoo in the third largest province in China temporarily shut down due to an unusual problem. Visitors discovered that the zoo's lion was actually a dog posing as a lion. According to a report in Beijing newspaper, the fraud came to light when a mother and her young son visited the zoo and the animal labeled an "African lion" starting barking. The outraged mother said, "The zoo is absolutely cheating us … I paid good money for the tickets and I feel defrauded."

Zoo keepers admitted that the so-called lion was actually a Tibetan mastiff, a large dog with a furry brown coat. They also admitted that other zoo animals had been mislabeled. Apparently there was a white fox in a leopard's den and another dog being passed off as a wolf. Staff also swapped two snakes at the reptile house with two giant sea cucumbers.

The chief of the park's animal department claimed that they really did have a lion, but it was away at a breeding facility. The dog belonged to an employee and was put there "for safety reasons." A spokesperson for the zoo said, "We're doing our best in tough economic times."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) False Doctrine; False Teachers—Just as the zoo officials tried to pass off a dog as a lion, so false teachers (cults, the media, celebrities, etc.) try to pass off falsehood as truth.(2) Hypocrisy—This story could also be used to address people who just posing to be followers of Christ.

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