Chinese zoo under fire after dyeing dogs black and white for ‘panda’ exhibit | World News

A Chinese zoo has been accused of painting dogs black and white in a bid to fool zoo visitors into seeing “pandas”.

Social media posts showed Taizhou Zoo unveiled a new exhibition featuring “panda dogs” on 1 May. Visitors were also charged 20 yuan (£2.22) to see the new attraction.

But those who travelled to the zoo in Jiangsu province discovered the animals were actually chow chows – a dog breed known for its thick double coat of fur from northern China – which were dyed to resemble pandas.

According to Chinese state media outlet The Global Times, lawyers said “inevitably the visitors will feel disappointed and deceived upon discovering the truth” about the exhibit.

But a worker at the zoo denied accusations of false advertising and told the outlet on Monday: “This is just a new display we offer to visitors.

“We are not charging extra. The wording featuring chow chow dogs is correct and exactly describes what they are, so we are not cheating our visitors.”

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A file picture of a chow chow. Pic: iStock

Per Jam Press, a zoo spokesperson also defended the panda exhibit by saying: “People also dye their hair.

“Natural dye can be used on dogs if they have long fur. There are no panda bears at the zoo and we wanted to do this as a result.”

It’s not the first time a Chinese zoo has been accused of faking animals: In 2023, Hangzhou Zoo denied claims some of its bears were people in costumes.

In July that year a clip of a Malaysian sun bear – named Angela – walking on its hind legs went viral and sparked speculation that the animal was a human being in a badly-fitting bear suit.

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A member of the zoo’s staff said on WeChat at the time: “Our zoo is government-run, so that kind of situation would not happen.

“The temperature in the summer is nearly 40 degrees, if you put on a fur suit, you certainly couldn’t last more than a few minutes without lying down.”

Other Chinese zoos have been accused of trying to pass off dogs with dyed and cut fur as wolves or African cats.

Chow chow dogs, dyed to look like pandas, play at an animal park in Zhengzhou, Henan province, in 2010. Pic: Reuters
Chow chow dogs, dyed to look like pandas, play at an animal park in Zhengzhou, Henan province, in 2010. Pic: Reuters

In 2010, a park in Zhengzhou, Henan province, bought four dyed chow chows and a golden retriever, dyed to resemble a tiger, from a pet market in Sichuan as an attempt to attract visitors, Reuters reported local media as saying.

In 2018, a zoo in Egypt denied it had painted donkeys to look like zebras.


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