Russian dyes dog to look like panda in tourist 'scam'

Russia dog dyed to look like giant panda cub (Getty / file)
The dog (not pictured) was dyed to look like an endangered giant panda cub. Photo credit: Getty / file

An investigation has been launched by Russian police after a man was found to be offering tourists the opportunity to pose with a panda cub.

There was one small problem with the offer - it wasn't actually the endangered animal, but rather a Chow Chow puppy dyed to look like a panda.

Some tourists called police when first seeing the pup at a village in Sochi, fearing the street trader had a real live panda cub.

An eyewitness who contacted police was worried the little animal was being "tortured" in 40degC heat, according to local media.

But when police came to investigate they discovered his owner, who has not been named, just had a Chow Chow puppy.

It's alleged he dyed the puppy black and white like a panda in order to fool tourists.

Police said while the man didn't have an actual panda in his clutches, there were reports he had a lion cub and a kite bird in his clutches, which he was also alleged to rent out for pictures.

He could face charges if he's found to have illegally obtained wild animals.

Newshub.