Zoo defends ‘panda’ exhibit after criticism for using dogs dyed black and white

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Taizhou Zoo in China unveiled the animals as it admitted it didn’t have any actual pandas to show

A zoo in China has hit back at criticism after unveiling a new attraction featuring dogs which had been dyed to look like pandas.

If you’re a fan of the zoo, chances are you enjoy going to see animals you wouldn’t usually see hanging out around the house or in your local area.

More likely, you’re excited to see exotic creatures from far away places, or animals you’d usually only encounter if you happened to be deep in the wild.

However, visitors to Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province, China are apparently ‘queueing’ to see an animal they could easily see in civilization – it just happens to look a little bit different.

On May 1, the zoo drew large crowds of excited animal lovers as it prepared to unveil a new attraction.

When the zoo revealed the animals, visitors were met with the sight of little four-legged creatures, with white faces and black spots around their eyes and ears – not unlike the colorings of a panda.

The only thing is, these creatures weren’t pandas. In fact, they were Chow Chows – a dog you might recognize from real life or social media, since they’re very much the opposite of a wild animal.

The dogs were in full panda attire. (Jam Press)

The dogs were in full panda attire. (Jam Press)

The spitz-type dogs originally come from northern China, and were presented at the zoo because the owners said they didn’t have any actual pandas to show visitors.

The owners were accused of trimming and dying the dogs to look like pandas, causing some backlash as locals accused the zoo of animal cruelty.

However, a spokesperson for the zoo hit back at the criticism as they pointed out that ‘people also dye their hair’.

The spokesperson also indicated that the revelation hasn’t stopped visitors from coming to the zoo, with people still flocking to see the little panda imposters.

Visitors are said to be queuing to see the creatures. (Jam Press)

Visitors are said to be queuing to see the creatures. (Jam Press)

“Natural dye can be used on dogs if they have long fur,” the spokesperson said.

“There are no panda bears at the zoo and we wanted to do this as a result. A lot of people are coming to visit them and you need to queue up.

“You can see them from between 8.30am and 5.00pm.”

The zoo’s newest attraction has sparked mixed responses online, with one viewer saying the Chow Chows looked ‘cute’ with their panda-inspired fur.

Another joked: “Well that’s an extreme way to get your dogs cared for while you’re at work lol.”

However, one critic wrote: “Cruel to do this to dogs.”

According to What’s The Jam, a local pet beautician has stated that natural dyes are suitable for most pets – though owners are advised to avoid any products with chemicals.

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