• The video surfaced on Sina Weibo on Tuesday
  • Zoo officials said the dog was in the wolf's cage temporarily
  • The zoo has been struggling due to the pandemic

A zoo in China has made a laughing stock of itself after placing a dog in a wolf's cage, apparently willing to pass it off as the wild beast.

A short video that surfaced on Tuesday showed what appears to be a Rottweiler lounging inside a wolf's enclosure at the Xiangwushan Zoo in Xianning in central China's Hubei province.

The video, recorded by a visitor identified as Xu, came with the caption, "Woof! Are you a wolf?"

When asked why the canine was living in the wolf's cage, the zoo authorities told Xu that the domesticated watchdog was kept there to fill the vacant place after the wolf had died of "old age," reported BBC.

An employee at the zoo reportedly confirmed to the Chinese local media that the dog was being kept there temporarily. He explained to Shine that the zoo was struggling to stay afloat at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a lack of visitors.

Staff at the zoo were reportedly asked to remove the sign leading to the wolf's enclosure.

The video was first posted on the Sina Weibo microblogging site in China, where it left the users cracking up. Some netizens joked that the zoo should have at least gotten a Husky as the breed has a close resemblance to the wolf.

"At least get a husky," one Weibo user reportedly said. The post has so far received over 6,000 likes on the social media platform.

According to BBC, the video footage has also sparked a debate online about the need for zoos in a post-COVID era, especially when they are in the midst of a dire financial situation.

Interestingly, Twitter users weren't far behind in coming up with the funniest reactions to the zoo's failed attempt.

One Twitter user shared a funny picture of a dog wearing a lion's mane, captioning it as "This is their Lion!!!"

"In all fairness, he is a wolf's descendant," another user said.

A wolf howls at a Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York
A wolf howls at a Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York AFP / Kena Betancur