Did Zoo Paint a Donkey to Look Like a Zebra?

Image via Amanda Girgis/Twitter

Last July, student Mahmoud Sarhan went to Cairo’s International Garden Municipal Park and discovered that a donkey was painted with black and white stripes to look like a zebra. The obvious features of the animal’s true identity were its size and long, pointed ears (zebras have shorter and rounded ears). There were also paint smudges on the donkey’s face.

Sarhan shared the photo on Twitter, and it quickly went viral, with various comments from all over the world.

A lot of people found the scene hilarious, but there are others who expressed their concern for the donkey, worrying that the paint chemicals might poison him.

Zoo director Mohamed Sultan denied the allegation that the animals had been painted, during an interview with a local radio station, Nogoum FM.

“It seems strange to subject animals to being painted for the sake of putting them on display — and in this particular case, to ostensibly dupe the public into believing they’re something else,” Joanna Grossman, equine program manager at the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), told The Dodo. “Animals in captivity — who already contend with the added stress of living in a confined and unnatural setting — deserve better treatment; they aren’t canvasses who need to be smeared with pigment, resin, or other substances.”