A zoo in Egypt has denied painting black stripes on a donkey to make it look like a zebra after a photo of the animal appeared online.
Student Mahmoud Sarhan put the images on Facebook after visiting Cairo’s International Garden municipal park.
This is not the first time that a zoo has painted donkeys to look like zebras. In 2009, a zoo in Gaza did the same thing, saying that it could not procure real zebras due to an Israeli blockade.
“The first time we used paint but it didn’t look good,” the zoo’s proprietor told Reuters at the time. “The children don’t know, so they call them zebras and they are happy to see something new.”
In 2013, a Chinese zoo was criticized for trying to pass off a large dog as a lion. “The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us,” one visitor told Chinese media. “They are trying to disguise dogs as lions.”
Zebras and donkeys, despite both bearing a resemblance to horses, are different species. Donkeys are popular beasts of burden in developing countries and were domesticated millennia ago. Zebras, meanwhile, are primarily known for their black-and-white stripes.
Zebras also have black snouts, according to one expert. They are also larger and less donkey-like than theater animal in the viral photo, and do not have smudged stripes.
Aside from its small size and pointy ears, there were also black smudges on its face.
The pictures quickly went viral, with experts weighing in on the species of the animal.