Khao Kheow Open Zoo is very proud to have been chosen to join the Conservation Botanical Project of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the third child of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand. We use the space here at Khao Kheow Open Zoo for conservation and to develop a centre for conservation in eastern Thailand. We aim to be a centre of study and research in a variety of biological resources for conservation and to help future generations. Our purpose is also to be a learning centre for groups which are relevant to our main duties of support and development of the quality of education in the province through zoo affairs.
We have been developing and carrying out our objectives for more than 31 years and still continue to do so. This includes presenting a new image of Thai zoos as a service for society, raising the standard of our zoo in the world along with our developing society. The relationship between man and animal has been going on for a long time, there is evidence from the past that this is for more than 4,000 years. Since then man has discovered how useful animals are and even took wild animals for use in wars. Animals are symbols of belief in religions and are used for work or show especially in Asian countries such as India and China. Here in Thailand we can relate to the forest and wild animals. We use animals for work, war or even entertainment. This is a telling sign that Thai people have found animals useful for a long time. Over time the ways of life within society have been changing all the time, with zoos changing from small stalls or travelling circus’ to large, fixed locations, using more space and materials, leading to the refinement and improvement of the complex management systems known as "ZOO’s ”. Thailand’s first zoo was "Dusit Zoo” or "Khao Din Wana” which has provided good memories for every generation.
During the King Chulalongkorn period (King Rama 5), he permitted the construction of the Botanical Garden at Dusit Garden in Bangkok. He also gave it the name, "Khao Din Wana” because it was built on an artificial island in the water. This name is well known by Thai people even now. In 1908 he went to Java Island in Indonesia and brought some Chital deer back to Thailand which were kept in a Deer garden located around Vimanmek Mansion. Over time the offspring of the Chital deer have moved to Dusit zoo.
In 1932, after a change of government, Por Pibulsonggram was Prime Minister of Thailand and he requested to King Ananthamahidon Phra Atthamaramathibodin (Rama 8) that local government change the zoo into a place for people to relax.
On 18 March 1938 Her Highness Princess Artid Tip arpa, who was regent to King Rama 8 accepted the request and local government took over management of the zoo. The local government then moved all Chital deer to the zoo and gathered animals from over the country and other countries for people to come and visit. The zoo was also redesigned to make it more peaceful and relaxing and named "Dusit Zoo”, the first zoo in Thailand. In 1969 the Zoo Organization Committee (founded in 1954), took over the management of the zoo directly. They thought that Dusit zoo didn’t have enough space for the population of animals with many living problems such as keeping the animals within their natural environments and breeding. They decided to use an area of the national park at Khao Kheow and Khao Chum Puh in Chonburi to build Khao Kheow Open Zoo. The committee sent authorities to survey the area alongside the Royal Forest Department and got the permit to proceed in 1973.
In 1974 The Zoo Organization Committee chose an area around the base of Khao Kheow Mountain, it was a degenerate forest which they rehabilitated, restored and built the facilities required for Khao Kheow Open Zoo. They started by moving animals from Dusit Zoo to live here in a more natural environment of 200 acres in size. The first kind of animals moved here were different types of deer (Barking Deer, Chital Deer, Hog Deer and Wild Deer.) Khao Kheow Open Zoo was opened to the public on 1 June 1978 and in 1984 the Zoo Organization got a permit from Ministers to extend the area of the zoo by a further more 1000 acres, this extension was in the animal and wildlife conservation area of Khao Kheow and Khao Chum Puh. The zoos total area was now 1200 acres.
In 1992 cabinet ministers made the decision that the development of the Khao Kheow Open Zoo project was to be more beneficial for society and also to extend the area by another 800 acres. Khao Kheow Open Zoo is now 2000 acres in size making it the largest zoo area in the world.
Khao Kheow Open Zoo is located at 235 Moo 7, Tumbun Bangpra, Ampur Sriracha, Chonburi. It is 25 kilometres from Siricha town. The Zoo is situated in the foothills of the only remaining forest left in Chonburi. The surrounding environment is a mixture of dry and evergreen forests that are very natural, plentiful and unchanged from the past. Most of the animals live in large stalls which are always suitable for them. Visitors can experience the animals up close.
Khao Kheow Open Zoo has grown large from taking the overflow animals from other zoos and presently we are progressing into the future with better management. Our vision is to develop our quality of management to the standard of other top zoos in the world.To manage and take care of animals and conservation. Including keeping the balance between nature and the environment, this will be beneficial for the country. To educate, study, research and provide recreational areas for the development of the mind. This will help people of all ages to realize how important the conservation of their natural environment and surroundings is.To develop Khao Kheow Open Zoo to be well known and recognized as a relaxing place.