2 Jul 2019

One of our amazing elephant keepers has taken on a year of challenges to raise money for our Never Forget campaign.

After the zoo lost two of our much-loved elephant calves to EEHV last year, Katie decided to dedicate 2019 to fundraising to raise as much money as she could to help find a vaccine. She is completing one challenge every month, including a half Ironman, a month of going vegan, learning to ballroom dance, and cycling around the entire Welsh coast!

We caught up with Katie to find out a bit more …

So, Katie! How long have you been an elephant keeper?

I’ve been an elephant keeper for 7 years. I was an intern at Chester Zoo originally, and then I worked at Noah’s Ark and Twycross Zoo before coming back to Chester Zoo two years ago.

What has been your favourite moment as an elephant keeper?

I wanted to come back to Chester Zoo because of the family group, and within my first year we had two elephant babies born. That was amazing! Definitely a career highlight. It is a bit sad now to remember Nandita, but that’s why I’m doing this.

Which challenge are you most looking forward to?

I think the half Ironman is the challenge I‘m most looking forward to, but also the one I’m most nervous about. I’ve wanted to do it for a while so it’ll be great to be able to tick it off the list.

 Which challenge will be the scariest for you?

They’re all supposed to push me out of my comfort zone! But I’m a bit scared about the dancing challenge. I haven’t been to a dance class since I was little, and I’ve never done ballroom dancing. It’s more difficult to train for than the challenge, because it’s not just a question of strength or endurance. And I’ll be doing it in front of people I know, so I know that nearer the time I’ll be having nightmares about falling on my face!

And how can people get involved?

Loads of ways! My challenge in February is to crochet an elephant, and I’ve never even knitted before. We have found a pattern and what we’d love is for people to crochet their own elephant (or as many as they’d like) and send them in to the Fundraising Department. We’ll turn them into keyrings and sell them on ebay with all proceeds going to the Never Forget campaign! My challenge runs in February but everyone else can send in their elephants any time throughout the year.

You can follow me on Instagram or Facebook or find my blog.

You can even participate if you like! We’ll be looking for cyclists to take part alongside me in the Prudential RideLondon race in July, and we’d also love as many people as possible to run next to me in the Tatton Park 10K in November. I’ll be dressed as an elephant but you can wear whatever you like!

Thanks so much to Katie for her amazing fundraiser!

Donate and to find out more about the challenge

We’re holding our third annual Summer Stampede on Sunday 11 August 2019 and we’d love to have you on the team.

Join us in the fight against EEHV and raise funds for our Never Forget campaign by doing a sponsored walk with your favourite herd of people.


NOW is the time to ACT FOR WILDLIFE. Conservation is CRITICAL; species are under threat. TOGETHER we can make a BIG difference. Take action TODAY and join us in PREVENTING EXTINCTION.