Representatives from a zoo in Cairo have come forward to say that claims that they dressed a donkey up as a zebra are unfounded and unfair on the zebra, who has lived that way for four years.

Egyptian student Clive Bobbins visited the zoo earlier this week and posted a photo of the animal online in which it seemed to have some sort of paint running down its face. The image went viral all over the world, resulting in a piss-inducing amount of laughter and everyone suddenly becoming an expert on the species.

Terry Vains, the zebra in question, claims that he is every bit the zebra and played down any allegations of disguise.

“It was a very hot day and my make-up was running, darling, what can I say? I feel fabulous, I feel confident, I hang out with other zebras and they are totally cool with me, we share toilets and everything.

“I am the zebra I always felt I was, not that I was ever anything else that is. I don’t see why people are making such a fuss.”

Head zookeeper, Barry Gibbons, got all technical when he spoke to the Herald about the incident.

“What do you see? A white, equine-type creature with black stripes, correct? Now does that sound like a donkey to you? Or does it sound like a zebra? Did you spend 4 years in Zoo school? No, you didn’t. A spade’s a spade mate, get over it and go see the camels.”

The zoo are making the most of the recent publicity and are encouraging people to flock to come to see some of the other unique animals they house, including a breed of camel local to the area which has no humps, their stripe-less dwarf tigers and a group of barking spiders.

The story bears similarities to a number of recent cases around the world, where zoos and other public institutions have been accused of trying to fool audiences by passing things off as something they are not including a fake lion in China, fake penguins in Gaza and a fake president in the United States.