China’s fake zoo animals


This is the Google translation of the above Chinese which is the caption to the video below: “Recently, the “popularity” of Hangzhou Zoo has sparked heated discussions. Many netizens rumored that the black bear was disguised as a real person. On July 29, the staff of the Hangzhou Zoo came forward to refute the rumors, saying that ‘it is absolutely impossible to be a real person inside.’ What do you think?”

It sums up the conundrum nicely. This history of China’s fake zoo animals sway me very positively towards this being a man in a costume.

For me it looks fake

Look at the baggy costume around his bum for instance. A lot of commenters have referred to it. Although commenters say that the skin of sun bears bunches up like this! I disagree. Look at this image from Malaysia:

Two Malayan sun bears
Two Malayan sun bears. Image: Project Noah.

And his actions are slightly or greatly unauthentic. They are said to be human actions but the sun bear does move a bit like this in fairness.

The overall shape of the animal is not right although sun bears do walk on two legs and they look slightly human when they do which must have encouraged the zoo keepers to dream up the plan! They did a nice job. They were careful and a lot of Westerners are fooled by it. The zoo’s customers seem to be happy. I can see why. It is a pretty fine call except for the baggy pants!!

The zoo keepers’ big defence that it must be a real bear as it was be too hot at 40 degrees Celsius for a man to wear hot suit. They say they’d be lying down within minutes. I am not so sure. They could be wearing a cooling system under the costume.

Some people think I stand like a person. It seems you don’t understand me very well

Hangzhou Zoo

Paradise Wildlife Park say it is genuine and they uploaded a video from their zoo to prove it. I am still unsure. Their sun bears do not have baggy pants!

Sun bear at Paradise Wildlife Park.

Good idea?!

In some ways it is a good idea! Think about it. No need to keep a wild animal captive. You can leave them alone in the wild. Zoos are inherently unpleasant places for wild animals. They spend all their lives in prison. How would you like that if you were innocent!

And there’s no need to train animals to do entertaining moves. Just instruct the poor sod in the hot suit to do certain moves and bingo. Much easier. I mean this fake zoo animal scam is good for animal welfare.

History of fake zoo animals

I think the history (see below) of Chinese zoos in using fake animals strongly supports the assessment that this is a fake sun bear. Zoos in China have a reputation for exhibiting fake animals.

Two examples of using dogs to create fake wild animals for a zoo. The fake tiger is hysterical. Image: Twitter.
Two examples of using dogs to create fake wild animals for a zoo. The fake tiger is hysterical. Image: Twitter.

Other Chinese zoos

There have been accusations of:

  • Dying dogs to look like wolves or African cats
  • Painting donkeys with stripes to look like zebras
  • A golden retriever marked up to look like a lion. The zoo in Xichang apologised so they admitted it.
  • In 2019 workers at a zoo in Changzhou were spotted wearing gorilla costumes. The zoo said that they were actors involved in an April’s Fool Day stunt! Nice excuse.

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