Will they take it lion down Zoo that fuelled hunt for the “Essex Lion” after mistaking picture of domestic cat for predator sighting is mocked in spoof advert
Colchester Zoo has been targeted by a spoof advert after their involvement in the hunt for the “Essex lion”Zoo workers armed with tranquiliser guns searched for the wild animal which turned out to be a domestic cat
The internet spoof features pictures of puppies as wolves, an earth worm as a snake and a ginger cat as a lion with the slogan “let your imagination run wild”Since the manhunt blunder over the Bank Holiday weekend there has been several internet spoofs and humour on social networking sites
When it was reported that there was a lion on the loose in Essex, experts from the Colchester Zoo were called in to help.
But rather than dismiss the blurry shape in the photo for what it was – a domestic cat – the zoo”s staff armed themselves with tranquilisers, and joined the 880-an-hour police hunt for the beast.
So it is perhaps no surprise that they have now had their animal-spotting abilities roundly mocked with an amusing online spoof advert.
Spoof advert: Many funny images and memes have been posted online since the manhunt for the “Essex lion” which turned out to be a domestic cat. The latest pokes fun at Colchester Zoo who sent out staff with tranquiliser guns looking for the “wild animal”
The advert, which was posted on Facebook and Twitter, features pictures of puppies that have been billed as wolves, an earthworm as a snake and a guinea pig as a panda, with the slogan ‘let your imagination run wild’.
The joke came after holidaymakers in Essex claimed to have spotted a big cat on Sunday, prompting a 20-hour manhunt including armed officers, two police helicopters using heat-seeking equipment and zoo workers in St Osyth, Essex over the Bank Holiday weekend.
While residents were warned to stay indoors and holidaymakers at a nearby caravan park evacuated, it emergedthat the wild animal was actually a large domestic cat called Teddy Bear.
The blunder, which made headlines, sparked many online spoof pictures and comments on Twitter.
Questions have been raised over why experts from Colchester Zoo and police believed the blurry photographs which sparked a costly search.
Mocking zoo”s animal spotting: The spoof adverts pokes fun at the zoo”s animal spotting capabilities with puppies as wolves and a kitten for a tiger
“Imagination run wild”: Blue tits for parrots and a black and white guinea pig as a panda
An earth worm as a snake and a ginger cat as a lion
Colchester Zoo director Anthony Tropeano welcomed the tongue-in-cheek advert but defended his staff’s involvement in the case.
Hesaid: ‘It’s all a bit of fun and games and I think it was bound to happen after all the media coverage the Essex lion received.
‘I was amazed at just how big a story it became as it really was a storm in a teacup.
‘We were shown a very grainy image of the “Essex lion” on Sunday evening and I told police I couldn’t really tell what it was.
“Wild animal” on the loose: This is the blurry photo taken by holidaymakers that prompted a 20-hour manhunt by police, police helicopters and zoo workers
Teddy Bear: The lion on the loose turned out to be domestic cat Teddy Bear
Community in terror of pet: Teddy Bear”s owner Ginny Murphy watched the drama unfold on television from Liverpool, where she was away and immediately had her suspicions
‘Later that night we were given a clearer image and told police it was not the right shape to be a lion.
‘Unfortunately the police were in a position where they were damned if they do and damned if they don’t as you cannot risk public safety if there is any suspicion a dangerous animal is on the loose.’
Teddy Bear’s owner Ginny Murphy watched the drama unfold on television from Liverpool, where she was away and immediately had her suspicions about the blurry images.
Colchester Zoo is a popular South East tourist attraction and boasts more than 260 rare species including lions.
Mr Tropeano said: ‘As the only zoo in the county we can officially say we are the only ones to allow visitors a chance to see lions in Essex.
‘Instead of grainy images, visitors can get up close and personal with our animals and can.”
Some of the other spoofs about the Essex lion include the iconic scene from Disney classic the Lion King in which a young Simba looks out across the wasteland.
The caption reads: ‘What is that shadowy place “It’s Essex, Simba. You must never go there”.’
Like Disney classic: A Twitter user has thought of their own amusing caption to go with a picture of a still from The Lion King
Internet humour: There were many spoofs after the manhunt blunder made headlines including this one featuring Mo Farah superimposed onto a picture of a lion looking frightened and running away from the beast
Bouffant hair-do: What the Essex lion might look like