A ZOO has been forced to deny it gave a lion a botched makeover after he was spotted with a dodgy “mullet” haircut like Joe Exotic.
The big cat – named Hang Hang – became the mane attraction at Guangzhou Zoo in China after the high humidity supposedly made his golden locks limp and droopy.
Zookeepers said the lion licked his paws like a cat and then brushed his hair to create the unusually straightened look.
Hang Hang looked a little out of place as one of the fiercest predators – but he was an instant hit after visitors spotted him sporting the funky hair-do.
His fluffy flattened mane gave him the look of a seasoned fashionista with ironed out hair – with some comparing him to Joe Exotic, the star of Netflix hit show Tiger King.
Others said he resembled the mop-topped members of The Beatles.
Visitors accused staff of cutting the lion’s hair, but zookeepers said “it was purely nature’s magic”.
A zoo spokesman said: “The hair style was purely nature’s magic.
“We wouldn’t dare cut the lion’s hair.
“He looked like a blonde supermodel with fringe because of the high humidity in Guangzhou.”
The zookeeper said the lion’s stylish haircut attracted swarms of visitors to the zoo after pics of the beast went viral on social media.
The spokesman said: “He’s the most beautiful boy here now, and more people are coming to see him.”
But visitors were sceptical of the zoo’s denial, claiming they had seen the same lion with a more typical appearance only days earlier.
One wrote online: “I went there two months ago, his hairstyle is not like this, and now his hairstyle is so silly.”
Others blasted the staff for “ruining” the lion’s appearance.
But one person described the fresh makeover as “very trendy and Guangzhou”.
Experts noted that Asia’s weather has been hitting extremes this year.
In China, Guangzhou recorded its coldest temperature of just 13.7C on May 3, before soaring to 32C just three weeks later.
Neighbouring countries such as India and Pakistan have also been experience intense heatwaves.