A white lion in a China Zoo has become an internet hit over its unique hairstyle.
Pictures of the resident lion at the Guangzhou Zoo in China went viral after they were posted to social media, and showed the lion sporting bangs—a rather unusual hairstyle for a lion
A visitor to the zoo snapped the pictures on a visit on May 28, and originally posted them to her Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) page. The photographs have since been re-shared widely online.
Many social media users commented on the photographs, and said the mane appears to have been specially styled. The social media user posting the photographs believed that the zookeepers were responsible for cutting the hairstyle.
However, the zoo has since denied this in a statement given to Chinese news outlet Guangdong.
The zoo said this hairstyle was “taken care of” by the lion itself and that they wouldn’t “dare” cut the mane.
The zoo said it hopes that citizens and visitors to the zoo can “feel the charm of different animals, with their eyes discovering surprises and beauty.”
The white lion is called A hang, according to Pearl River News, and its mane always used to looked normal, and similar to those of other lions.
A social media user on Little Red Book commenting on the photographs, claimed they had visited the zoo less than a week prior to when the pictures were posted. The social media user said the lion had not appeared to be sporting bangs then.
Another wrote: “I went there two months ago, her hairstyle is not like this, and now her hairstyle is so silly.”
Another Little Red Book user wrote: “[Guangzhou Zoo] did you cut this hairstyle? [The] bangs are so ugly, they are not suitable for it.”
In its statement sent to Guangdong, the zoo said that this hairstyle was caused by humidity in the area.
The zoo also said that as lions groom themselves by licking their fur, which can cause changes to how their mane looks from time to time.
It’s not uncommon for a lion’s mane to change over time. As lions grow older, the mane may become darker, lighter, longer or shorter. The appearance of a lion’s mane tends to be an indicator of the condition of the lion—for example, whether it is young and fit, or growing older and weaker.
A lion’s mane can often fringe the face. Some social media users have said however, that the Guangzhou Zoo lion appears to be sporting a blunter mane than others, again indicating it may have been cut.