Dusit Zoo in Bangkok Thailand
The Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand is known locally to the Thais as Khao Din. This attractive Zoological Garden was first set up by King Rama V in 1938 on 47 acres of what was the Royal Dusit Gardens attached to the Chitrilada Palace on King Rama V road. Open from nine in the morning to six in the evening, the entrance fee for foreigner adults is 100 Thai Baht. There are three gates giving access and egress to the zoo.
The Zoo is well laid out and if one were to visit with no interest in animals it would be worthwhile. There are attractive gardens, mature trees, pleasant places to sit and some excellent places to eat with food at reasonable prices. I find this refreshing because zoos so often hike the price up. There are amusements for the children. It pleases me to find that these are set well apart from the animal exhibits. The central Lake is a nice feature. Relaxing to sit next to and, for some, to paddle about upon.
Dusit Zoo maintains around 1,600 specimens representing some 270 species. One of the newer species being exhibited is the Wombat. The whole Wombat area is a well presented educational experience.
I have visited Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand several times before. I have always liked the collection and never found anything especially wrong. True enough there are enclosures which could be bigger and other faults but aren't there always? Dusit zoo is though making a visible effort to improve.
Dusit Zoo is one of the better S.E. Asian Zoos. It is a SEAZA member one of five zoos in Thailand that comes under the management of the Zoological Park Organisation. These are the Songkla Zoo, Chiang Mai Zoo, Kao Kheow Zoo and Nakon Ratchasima Zoo. It is a pity that the other poorer zoos like Pata are not forced to join along with those commercial institutions like Bangkok Safari World which think they know it all.
The most pleasant surprise on this visit is the new signage. It is excellent! It is big, eyecatching and makes you want to read it. It does not labour the point though. The signs only contain 'factoids'. Just enough interesting information for Joe Public to instantly digest and want to know more. There is more too, in the same vein. This is good stuff, not boring, and in both English and Thai.
The signage around the collection is regrettably not consistent even though there are new signs, but they are getting there. That in the Reptile house is good-ish...but so poorly placed as to make reading it quite difficult.
Dusit Zoo has a lot to offer but if I had to choose one animal which impressed me on this visit it was the Cambodian Stream Skink Tropidophorus microlepis. Why? Well because I don't recollect ever seeing them before. I have always liked skinks and have captured and/or cared for a variety of species and so was well aware of their diverse adaptations. If I ever knew of one which had chosen an aquatic lifestyle I had forgotten about it.
I like the reptile house in Dusit. Very simply decorated with artificial plants, sand and branches but so refreshing after Pata Zoo. The crocodilians are well kept and displayed. This is so refreshing after the muddy dirty water and rotten meat smell that one encounters over much of Asia.
Never in any of my visits has the Fishing Cat had any water. I have remarked on it every time. I fail to see why this basic bit of 'environmental enrichment' is unavailable. The pool has always been there but it is always empty.
The primate exhibits range from good to passable. The Chimpanzees are always being fed by members of the public on my visits. This visit was no exception.
It was a joy to see six Pileated Gibbons Hylobates pileatus together. The Gibbon enclosures are well furnished. I do wonder about enrichment throughout the collection though. I continue to make the distinction between enrichment and what is always present within an exhibit. I did not see any signs relating to enrichment anywhere. The chimpanzees have plenty to do and I like the way that their gymnasium is situated in a shady dry spot. I also wonder about how closely related the 'chocolate' chimp in Dusit is related to those in Twycross Zoo.
On previous visits I have often found the nocturnal house closed or presenting quite a poor show. This time it was much improved but the lighting not quite right. The best nocturnal exhibits I have seen anywhere are in Sharjah and all zoos could learn much from a visit there. The new special exhibit is a couple of Bat Eared Foxes Otocyon megalotis.
Sadly it was raining on and off during my visit so I did not get the chance to see animal shows. Those I have seen here in the past have been good to excellent and on a par with Singapore Night Safari. I did think at one point I was going to watch an elephant show but ended up watching the 'Kenyan Boys' dance and gymnastic display. They were clever but it was not for me so I left.
I have always been interested to watch the huge wild Monitor Lizards in and around the lake in Dusit Zoo. Today I saw four, massive magnificent creatures. Mind you some of the catfish in the lake are coming close to their size.
All in all it was a very pleasant visit. The cloud cover helped keep things cool. I continue to be impressed by Dusit Zoo.
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