Zoo denies its bears are humans in costume

World

A zoo in China has denied suggestions some of its bears might be humans in costumes after photos of the animals standing like humans circulated online.

Hangzhou Zoo said on social media that the sun bears from Malaysia are smaller than other bears and look different, but insisted they were the real thing.

“Some people think I stand like a person,” the post written from the bear’s point of view said.

“It seems you don’t understand me very well.”

An employee who answered the phone at the zoo declined to talk about the bears but said visits were being arranged on Monday for reporters to see them.

Internet users questioned whether the zoo’s bears were genuine after photos circulated showing one standing upright on slender hind legs.

“Because of the way they stand, some people online question whether they are ‘humans in disguise,'” Chinese newspaper Hangzhou Daily said.

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Sun bears are the size of large dogs, standing at most 1.3 metres (50 inches) tall on their hind legs, compared with up to 2.8 metres (9 feet) for grizzlies and other species, according to the zoo.

Mahmoud Sarhan said he knew the animal was a donkey "from the first sight". Pic: Mahmoud Sarhan
Image:
A zoo in Egypt was previously accused of attempting to convince visitors that a painted donkey was actually a zebra. Pic: Mahmoud Sarhan

Other Chinese zoos have been accused of trying to pass off dogs with their fur dyed and cut to look like wolves or African cats, while a zoo in Egypt previously denied it had painted donkeys to look like zebras.

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