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Chinese Zoo Paints Chow Chow Dogs Black & White to Pass them off as Pandas


The latest attraction at Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province, China, has sparked controversy and outrage among visitors. The zoo unveiled what appeared to be small pandas, but it was soon revealed that these “pandas” were actually chow chow dogs that had been dyed black and white by zookeepers.


Chow chows, originally from northern China, were groomed to resemble pandas by trimming their manes and applying black and white dye. This deceptive exhibition, launched on May 1st, drew crowds of visitors until news of the ruse spread.

Critics accused the zoo of both deceiving its patrons and subjecting the dogs to unnecessary cruelty. While some defended the use of dyes on dogs if they were safe, many questioned the ethics of such practices.

In response to the backlash, the zoo clarified that the “Panda dogs” were not a distinct breed but rather dogs groomed to mimic pandas. They also cited space limitations as the reason for not housing real pandas.

This isn’t the first time a Chinese zoo has faced accusations of deception. In 2023, Hangzhou Zoo faced criticism for dressing a man in a bear costume due to the absence of real bears.

Pandas hold significant cultural and diplomatic value in China, often used in “panda diplomacy” initiatives. Despite conservation efforts, pandas remain endangered, with a majority of them living in the mountainous regions of southwestern China.

Taizhou Zoo charges 20 Chinese yuan for entry, with the “panda” exhibit included in the ticket price.

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