The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland is a learned society and registered charity of Scotland. It was founded by an Edinburgh lawyer, Thomas Hailing Gillespie, in 1909. In 1913, a large plot of land was purchased for the Society by the Edinburgh Town Council on Corstorphine Hill, Edinburgh a site which later opened to the public as Edinburgh Zoo. The Society received its Royal Charter in 1913. The principle objective of the Society mentioned in the original charter is:
"To promote, facilitate and encourage the study of zoology and kindred subjects and to foster and develop amongst the people an interest in and knowledge of animal life."
In 1986, the society also acquired the Highland Wildlife Park.