In B.E.2497 or approximately 50 years ago, the Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of H.M. The King of the Kingdom of Thailand has been established in order to be the government agency responsible for directly taking care of the zoos. Currently, Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of H.M. The King has 5 zoos under its responsibilities consisting of Dusit Zoo, Chiang Mai Zoo, Kao Kheow Open Zoo, Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, and Song Kla Zoo which has been opened for people and tourists since B.E.2541. However, the first zoo in Thailand is much older than that and has interesting and attractive history.
During the King Rama V era, he was pleased to construct the botanical garden within Suan Dusit garden by filling the soil and constructing the hill in the middle of the pool. He assigned its name as “Kao Din Wa Na”. When King Rama V traveled to Java Islands in B.E.2451, he brought some chital deer to Bangkok and raised them in the garden located in Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace. Afterwards, the descendant of this chital deer was moved to Dusit Zoo.
After the Revolution in B.E.2475, the government at that time headed by the Field Marshal Por. Piboolsongkram as the Prime Minister requested the land around Suan Dusit from H.M. the King. H.M.The King Rama VIII so the Bangkok Municipality was able to construct the zoo and the rest areas for public.
On 18 March B.E.2481, Prince Arthit Thip-apha, The Head of the Regent, approved, on behalf of H.M.The King Rama VIII, the Bangkok Municipality to accept Suan Dusit to do as requested. The Bangkok Municipality, then, moved the chital deer from Ambara Villa, Dusit Palace to Suan Dusit and accumulated domestic and international animals to raise within Suan Dusit and open such place to the public. In additions, Suan Dusit was decorated to be the rest areas for public and later, its name has been changed to “Dusit Zoo”, the first zoo in Thailand.
Currently, Dusit Zoo has been opened for more than 66 years. There are more than 1,600 domestic and international wild lives in Dusit Zoo and there are approximately 2.5 million people coming to Dusit Zoo.
Chiang Mai Zoo is one of the ancient zoos in Thailand. Chiang Mai zoo has been established by Mr. Harold Mason Young, an American border patrol police’s trainer. Mr. Young raised various kinds of animals at the foothill of Suthep Mountain. When there are higher numbers of animals, people are interested in visiting his area and in B.E.2498, the Provincial Administration Organization used approximately 60 rais in that area to construct Chiang Mai Zoo.
When Mr. Harold Mason Young passed away, the Provincial Administration Organization contacted the Zoological Park Organization to transfer the Chiang Mai Zoo to be under the responsibility of the Zoological Park Organization and the Zoological Park Organization obtained Chiang Mai Zoo on 16 June B.E.2520.
Kao Kheow Open Zoo has been established since B.E.2516 with the objective to take some parts of the animals from Dusit Zoo to stay at Kao Kheow Open Zoo. It is the only one open zoo in Thailand that raises more than 8,000 animals of more than 300 kinds of wildlife on approximately 5,000 rais of the Kao Kheow – Kao Chom Poo Wildlife Conservation Area in Cholburi Province. It is the place responsible for creating the balance between the nature and environment. In additions, it is the biggest tiger center in Asia Pacific region and the research institute for wildlife and natural conservation. It has been opened for public and tourists since 2 June B.E.2521.
In B.E.2532, the Zoological Park Organization was approved by the Cabinet to construct 2 zoos in the regional areas, namely, Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo and Song Kla Zoo with the objective to conserve and promote the breeding of wildlife for study and to be the rest area for public.
Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo, Safari of the North Eastern Region, has been established since 23 May B.E.2532. It is one of the modern and standardized zoos in Asia on the area of approximately 545 rais. It is located on the plain laterite area and some areas have been adjusted to be the wave areas like Savanna grassland. The zoo has imported some kinds of animals from Africa and Asia and has been formally opened for public since 14 December B.E. 2539 and General Prem Tinnasulanont, The Privy Councilor and Statesman, presided over the opening ceremony.
Regarding Song Kla Zoo, it has been established according to the Cabinet Resolution on 23 May B.E.2532 in the middle of the mountains and it has been surrounded by Song Kla Lake on the area of 911 rais next to Samila Cape. It is the conservation center for rare wildlife in the southern part of Thailand. It has the area where tourists are able to see Tinnasulanont Bridge, Song Kla City, Thai Bay, and they are able to enjoy the elephant and ostrich activities, and the natural camp for natural study and relaxation. In additions, the zoo has the place for Islamic people to conduct the religious worship. The zoo has been opened for public since 3 October B.E.2541.