PATHUM THANI: The new zoo in Thanya Buri district will have its soft launch by early 2026, says the Zoological Park Organization (ZPO).
Dubbed the country’s first green zoo, it is expected to receive over 1.2 million visitors a year when fully open, said ZPO director Attapon Srihayrun.
Mr Attapon made the prediction during a recent inspection visit to the site, where the entrance zone has been opened as a mini zoo. Work is still in the early stages, with workers clearing the land and preparing to install basic infrastructure, including a water drainage system.
The zoo occupies a 300-rai site of royally donated land in the Rangsit Khlong Hok area, north of Bangkok.
It will be three times larger than the Dusit Zoo, which closed in 2018 after 80 years. The government has allocated 5.3 billion baht for the first phase of the project.
Mr Attapon said the first phase will feature a variety of native animals from Africa and Asia such as elephants, tigers, giraffes and komodo dragons. The country also will have its first Okapis, which look like a cross between a deer and a zebra, he said.
It will also include a 30-rai public park and a 2,288-square-metre building to commemorate HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua, as well as an exhibition of previous kings in the Ratanakosin era.
“We expect to welcome visitors within the next three years. The facility will be the country’s first-ever green zoo. We will not allow plastic inside. All organic waste will be turned into fertiliser,” said the ZPO director.
“The zoo will be powered by renewable energy and we’ll have a water-recycling system. All trees will go towards carbon credits.”
The second and final phase with a budget of 4.3 billion baht is scheduled to be completed in 2028. It will have two more zones for animals from Australia and South America.
Mr Attapon said there would be around 100 species of both domestic and imported animals, or about 1,000 animals in all.
He said the idea is not to pack in a large number of animals, but to build them a home with plenty of trees to make the occupants feel like they are living in their habitat.
Around 70% of the land or 240 rai is dedicated to animal living zones including a territories zone (47%), in which a variety of species will live “virtually” in the same place. Another 23% will be devoted to a bio-park zone and just 7% to cages. A pond will sit at the heart of the zoo, linking all spots together under the theme of wetland revival.
The ZPO is also considering whether to have a pair of pandas at the zoo.
He said the zoo would also be a landmark for learning about wildlife for local residents and foreign visitors alike.
The ZPO expects about 1.2 million people will visit each year, generating income of over 500 million baht annually. However, it will take about 30 years to break even.