Khon Kaen Zoo opens for wild mushroom harvesting, aids economy
Khon Kaen Zoo opens for wild mushroom harvesting, aids economyLegacy

Khon Kaen Zoo opened its Khao Suan Kwang area to villagers for wild mushroom harvesting, aiming to boost the local economy through sales to tourists and family consumption.

The early arrival of the rainy season this year has led to a noticeable increase in rainfall across the Khao Suan Kwang mountain area, resulting in lush greenery and a significant growth of various mushroom species.

Acting Director of Khon Kaen Zoo, Tipawadee Kittikun noted that the abundance of mushrooms is particularly evident this season.

Following an agreement established on April 27, 2009, involving the Departments of Forestry and National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Khon Kaen Province, and the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand, the zoo’s development strategy includes sustainable use of the area in harmony with the local community forest.

This approach aims to enhance the local economy through tourism, create local employment opportunities, and provide educational resources on natural resources and wildlife for students and the public.

Every rainy season, villagers from Khao Suan Kwang district and nearby areas collect naturally occurring mushrooms such as Russula, Lentinus, bitter mushrooms, and puffballs.

Community income

These mushrooms are sold to tourists at the zoo’s entrance, generating income for the community and individual families. Some of the mushrooms are also used for family meals.

Tipawadee shared that in the previous year, Khon Kaen Zoo contributed significantly to community income, with villagers collecting mushrooms worth a total of 1.6 million baht.

Puffballs were the most abundant and profitable, selling for 500 baht per kilogramme. Last year, villagers harvested 451 kilogrammes of puffballs, amounting to 695,893 baht.

Khon Kaen Zoo implemented guidelines for those entering for mushroom harvesting or other forest products. Entrants must use the zoo’s main entrance and present either an ID card or a government-issued card at the security checkpoint.

The allowed collection times are from 3am to 6pm. Harvesters are prohibited from entering animal exhibition areas, and upon exiting, they must return their entry card and weigh their collected forest products for record-keeping.

Specific rules include a ban on hunting, capturing animals, and bringing hunting tools into the zoo. Cutting trees or bringing tools like saws and knives for cutting trees is strictly forbidden.

Additionally, setting fires in the forest, damaging fences, or stealing zoo property, which is government property, are prohibited. Any violations will result in legal action by zoo authorities, reported Khaosod.

By opening the Khao Suan Kwang area for mushroom harvesting, Khon Kaen Zoo not only supports local livelihoods but also fosters a deeper connection between the community and their natural environment.

The story Khon Kaen Zoo opens for wild mushroom harvesting, aids economy as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Ryan Turner