15 May 2017

Chester Zoo’s Curator of Birds introduces the team

Andrew Owen, Curator of Birds, Chester Zoo
Andrew Owen, Curator of Birds
Sumatran laughingthrush - black and white bird
Sumatran Laughingthrush

Time is fast running out for Indonesia’s most endangered songbirds. But a team from Chester Zoo led by bird intern Chris Coates will be running for their lives (the birds’ lives that is!) in the Chester Half Marathon.

Songbirds across South East Asia – and in particular in Indonesia – are rapidly disappearing from their forest homes. Trapped out to supply the unrelenting demand for the cage bird trade.

The forests are falling silent.

Birds such as the Javan Green Magpie, Black-winged Myna, Sumatran Laughingthrush and Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush are teetering on the brink of extinction.

Chester Zoo is working hard to help save these wonderful birds through managing conservation breeding programmes, providing technical and financial support to our partners in Indonesia, carrying out surveys, awareness and education and reintroduction of birds in to safe habitats.

This vital work can only be done with your support. The more money that can be raised, the more help we can give to the fight to save these fabulous birds from extinction.


I’m Chris and I am currently a One Year Intern within the Bird Department at Chester Zoo, helping to look after different species of songbirds.

This will be my first Half Marathon and something I have set myself the challenge of completing since taking up running a few years ago.

I will feel a great sense of pride to be able to raise funds to help save these amazing but critically endangered birds.

Challenge: Chris Coates Chester Half staff team 2017


I’m big sis to Chris, I am running on behalf of Chester Zoo to help them raise funds and awareness for songbirds.

This will be my second half marathon, and even though I have run for 3 years and I’m also in a running club, half marathons will always be a challenge and I can’t wait to run for the zoo.

Challenge: Chester Half Sarah-Elizabeth Coates


I’m retail operations manager at the zoo. In addition to the Chester Half, I recently walked the 3 Peaks challenge this year for Act for Wildlife.

I can run 5K so I will need to increase my distance to over 20K for my first half marathon. With such an important cause behind us, I know we will all be able to make it to the end!

Suzanne Keyse - 3 Peaks and Chester Half (Medium)


I’m on placement as a bird intern at Chester Zoo. I work closely with Asian songbirds at the zoo and I’m currently involved in a research project to give us a better understanding of the behaviour and welfare of the Javan Green Magpie.

I’ve previously lived life as a couch potato and started running around 5 months ago and this will be my first half marathon.

Please give what you can!

Challenge: Chester Half Abbie Buxton


I have worked with songbirds at Chester Zoo and at the conservation breeding centre in Cikananga, so this is a cause very close to my heart. I know how much of a difference any money made will make.

I have not run anywhere near this distance before but it’s a challenge I am really looking forward to.


I’m Head of Guest Experience at Chester Zoo, and am looking forward to completing the Chester Half Marathon as a team to raise funds for this important cause.

I last ran The Great North Run in 2003… and haven’t done any running since then so it will definitely be a challenge!

Please give what you can to support.

Challenge: Jon Turley Chester Half


I run the Catering department at Chester Zoo – ensuring all our visitors and staff are fed and watered.

One of the unique parts of working at the Zoo is knowing that all your hard work is contributing to good causes and being able to get involved directly in fund raising initiatives such as the 2 challenges I am undertaking this year: the 3 Peaks challenge for Painted dogs and the Chester Half Marathon to save Indonesian Songbirds.

The aim is to raise awareness of both causes and hopefully get a little fitter along the journey!

3 Peaks challenge Snowdon 03.04.17


I’m Commercial Analyst at Chester Zoo, so deal with anything to do with data and getting information to people. It’s an incredible place to work and I love knowing it’s all for a good cause.

Since joining the zoo 2 years ago, my eyes have been opened to the amazing conservation work that takes place here. This has encouraged me to away from my desk and help support these great causes with Born Survivor and now the Chester Half Marathon. Hopefully there’ll be many more challenges to come…if I get through this one alive!

Challenge: Ian Moore Born Survivor 2016