History Of Zoo

Zoo that made a paradigm impact in Wildlife conservation awareness in India

(1855)- Dr. Edward Belford's Vision.

The history of Chennai Zoo, formerly known as Madras Zoo dates back to the year 1855, 23rd November. The idea of a collection of animals and maintaining them in one place was mooted by Dr. Edward Belford, He was then director of the Government Central Museum at Madras, persuaded the Nawab of the Carnatic to donate his entire animal collection to the museum. Mr. Balfour started the Zoo on the museum premises and a year later it had over 300 animals, including different significant species.

(1861)- Madras corporation & shifting to peoples Park, Madras.

Later the Onus of managing the Madras Zoo was transferred to Madras Corporation and got shifted to People's Park near Chennai Central Railway station at Park Town in 1861.

(1976)- Vandalur Forest Reserve as a New Home and Hope for wildlife.

Due to the cramping of restricted land space for wildlife and impending challenges to meet the suitable environment for animal behavioral needs and proper infrastructure, In 1976 after a detailed investigation, Vandalur Forest Reserve was taken into consideration, with natures abundance and sprawling 512 ha, it was the then-largest zoological garden in India.

(1979)- The Public's relentless and selfless contribution towards Vandalur Zoo revamping

The work started in 1979, initially, the land was merely a scrub jungle with merely no trees. Zoo authorities and people from nearby villages collected seeds from different trees and afforested the Zoo areas, It provided an environment similar to the natural wilderness to meet the biological and physiological needs of animal inhabitants.


(1985) - Inauguration of Vandalur Zoo.

The Zoo in its new premises was officially opened to the public on 24 July 1985 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.G. Ramachandran, after most of the works were completed.

(2001) - Rehabilitation center for abandoned animals.

92.45 Hectares of Land next to the park was acquired to build a rescue and rehabilitation center for confiscated and abandoned wild animals, increasing the Park's size to 602 hectares.


Currently, Arignar Anna Zoological Park is one of the largest Zoos in South East Asia extending over an area of 1,490 acres and housing more than 2300 wild animals belonging to 172 species. Annual 2 million footfalls.