An Egyptian zoo has been torn off a strip for allegedly attempting to fool visitors by painting black and white stripes on a donkey to make it look like a zebra.
The row began when a student visiting the recently opened animal sanctuary in Cairo’s International Gardens Park spotted the unusual-looking animal and shared a photo of it on Facebook, the Daily Mail reports.
Mahmoud Sarhani said: “When we went to the zebra side, there was only one zebra.
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“It came to us and the other one didn’t move, but when he came near to me, I realised from the first look that it was a painted donkey, not a zebra.”
The animal in the photo lacks the larger shaggier mane that a zebra usually has on the nape of its neck, says the newspaper, and the black paint appears to have smudged in the heat. It also has long floppy ears, rather than the more rounded ears of the more exotic species.
Zookeeper Mohamed Sultan denies the allegations, despite experts claiming otherwise.
Metro reports that this is not the first incident of this type. In 2009, a zoo in Gaza reportedly painted two donkeys black and white to replace zebras that had died of starvation.
And in 2013, a zoo in China tried to pass off a dog as a lion.
“When a visitor went to the cage of the ‘lion’ at the zoo in Louhe, a city in Henan, they heard a loud bark,” says the Mail. The so-called lion was then discovered to be a hairy Tibetan mastiff.
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