The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. It was founded in 1826.
The society was founded in April 1826 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the Marquess of Lansdowne, Lord Auckland, Sir Humphry Davy, Robert Peel, Joseph Sabine, Nicholas Aylward Vigors along with various other nobility, clergy, and naturalists.Raffles was the first chairman and president, but died after only a few months in office, in July 1826. He was succeeded by the Marquess of Lansdowne who supervised the building of the first animal houses, a parcel of land in Regent's Park having already been obtained from the Crown at the inaugural meeting. It received a Royal Charter from George IV on 27 March 1829.
The purpose of the society was to create a collection of animals for study at leisure, an associated museum and library. In April 1828 the Zoological Gardens were opened to members. In 1831 William IV presented the Royal Menagerie to the Zoological Society, and in 1847 the public were admitted to aid funding, and Londoners soon christened the Zoological Gardens the "Zoo". London Zoo soon had the most extensive collection of animals in the world.