Seoul Grand Park Zoo, Korea's first zoo, was created in 1909 by the Japanese occupying forces in the former royal palace of Changgyeongung, which was under the changed name of Changgyeongweon. The zoo opened on Nov. 1, 1909 with Siberian tigers, kangaroos, ostriches, camels, orangutans, and other animals.
Towards the end of World War II the Japanese needed both manpower and steel for weapons, and gave orders to kill the animals in the Korean zoo, poisoning 150 animals. Animals that survived this had to also survive the end of the war, when all the remaining zookeepers fled the zoo. After Korea's independence the zoo was maintained at Changgyeongweon until 1984 when it was relocated to its current site in Makgyedong, Gwacheon.