25 Oct 2019

2019 has seen the engulfing of the world’s forests as a warming planet continues to choke under smoke and flames. Despite the trials, heroes continue the fight.

25 Apr 2019

Five wildlife protection projects are being created by our conservationists, thanks to money donated by the public in the wake of a fire in our Monsoon Forest at the zoo last year!

19 Jul 2018

Lily’s determination

All over Indonesia, forests are falling silent as the songbirds that once thrived there are threatened with extinction.

To raise funds and awareness for songbirds, 8-year-old Lily Owen was determined to take on a duathlon.

Lily Owen Duathlon Fundraising for Songbirds

Every penny counts

Lily said: ‘I am very proud to have finished my very first duathlon and raise £178.39, because I know every penny will help save songbirds.’

‘Afterwards, I gave a talk at my school to tell everyone what I’d done and how it will make a difference. I hope other people will join in too.’

black winged starling

Running, cycling and then back to running again

‘I had never done anything like this before, so I’d been practising hopping on and off my bike in the garden.’

‘On the day, even though it was very hot, I knew I was ready and I could make a quick change between running and cycling, then back to running again.’

Lily Owen Duathlon Fundraising for Songbirds

For the songbirds!

‘The hardest part was at the very end. I got a bit of stitch, but I had to keep going for the songbirds!’

Wearing her homemade songbirds t-shirt, Lily ran 200m, cycled 1km and finally ran 500m, all in 9mins and 59 seconds.

Lily Owen Duathlon Fundraising for Songbirds

Conservationist of the future

As the daughter of our very own Chester Zoo Curator of Birds Andrew Owen, Lily is already following in her father’s footsteps and preventing extinction.

Well done Lily!

Lily Owen Duathlon Fundraising for Songbirds

21 Jun 2018

Making a difference

7-year-old Lily Carter has been baking with her great grandmother Nanny Ann to raise funds for giraffe conservation.

Lily and her Nanny Ann

Fighting a silent extinction

Populations of giraffe are experiencing a silent extinction, because most people do not realise that this iconic species is under threat.

When Lily and her family heard that giraffe numbers had plummeted by a shocking 40% during the last thirty years, Lily knew she had to get involved.

Two giraffes in the wild

Acting for wildlife

Lily said: ‘I have been reading about giraffes and I am so worried that they are on the endangered list.’

‘So, I decided to raise some money for Chester Zoo to help giraffe. Thank you very much for looking after all the animals around the world, Chester Zoo!’

Lily Carter Certificate Presentation

Thank you!

Thanks to Lily and everyone who generously supported her fundraising.

Every penny of the £35 that Lily raised will go directly to prevent extinction of giraffe.

Part of the elusive Kidepo herd

8 Sep 2017
Challenge: Katie Morrison Loch Ness Marathon for Never Forget

What are you fundraising for?

I’m running the marathon to raise money for our Never Forget campaign to fight EEHV.

EEHV is a devastating virus that kills young elephants both in the wild and in zoos. Unfortunately five calves born at Chester Zoo have died from the virus.  We currently have three young elephants within the herd so EEHV is never far from the elephant team’s thoughts.

We are doing what we can with the knowledge we already have but more research is required to improve our understanding of the virus and how best to treat it.

Why did you choose to do a marathon?

This will be my second marathon, I ran my first in 2015. Thought it was about time I conquered another one as I enjoy challenging myself.

Why Loch Ness?

I’m originally from Glasgow so have been keen to complete a Scottish race. I chose Loch Ness because I thought the gorgeous scenery would be a welcome distraction when fatigue starts to set in.

How has the training been going?

In July I completed my first sprint triathlon so my training has involved not only running but also swimming and cycling. Now my focus is to gradually increase my mileage up until race day.

At times it has been difficult keeping to my training routine but running in aid of such an important cause has kept me motivated.

We will Never Forget


She did it! Katie conquered this monster marathon!

She faced terrible weather and a very tough race, but she made it to the finish line and raised over £400. Well done Katie!

Thank you everyone for your support.

Challenge: Katie Morrison Loch Ness Marathon 24.09.17 Never Forget
Explore more Asian elephants
23 Aug 2017


With a passion for animals from childhood, I was thrilled to join Chester Zoo as a bird keeper in 1988.

Now as Chief Executive Officer at the zoo, I continue to have a special interest in birds, particularly the Ecuador Amazon parrot.

I have taken on many fundraising challenges for the zoo over the years and I can’t wait to get my trainers on again at the Salford 10K!

Challenge: 10K run zoo staff 2014


As part of my role as bird keeper at the zoo I have worked in Indonesia to save songbirds from the illegal wildlife trade. Earlier this year I ran the Chester Half Marathon for wildlife and it’s great to take on another challenge.

Challenge: Chester Half 21.05.17 - group shot


I work in the Aquarium at Chester Zoo. In addition to the conservation work we do here in Chester, I have recently seen first-hand the difference we make in places like Mexico. I’m really looking forward to running in my Act for Wildlife top.

Challenge: Salford 10K Steve Chester


I work in the HR team at Chester Zoo and I am new to running, so I’m nervous but excited about my very first 10K event.

Challenge: 10.06.17 running club


I am PR manager at the zoo and I’ve been trying to go running every day to train for the Salford 10K…it’s not always easy but definitely worth it!

Challenge: Alex Knight Salford 10K runner


I’ve worked at the zoo for many years and I am looking forward to running for wildlife. We’ve even set up a running club to help us with our training!

Challenge: 22.08.17 zoo staff running club with Dave Edwards


As a fundraiser for Chester Zoo I have the great job of supporting others to take on challenges for wildlife conservation and I thought it was about time I got my trainers on to take on a challenge myself!

10K runners in tiger and elephant ears


They did it! The team smashed the Salford 10K, raising funds and awareness for wildlife conservation.

Well done team! Thank you everyone for your support.

11 Aug 2017
Stephen Hatton Bike Chester 2017

Chester Zoo member and volunteer, Stephen Hatton, cycled for wildlife to raise funds to research a deadly virus that affects young elephants globally.

What made you sign up to cycle for wildlife?

Hari the Asian elephant calf was my main inspiration. Since Hari was taken from us by the disease EEHV, I have been looking for a way to support the zoo’s Never Forget campaign to fight the virus.

I had always enjoyed cycling in the past and I knew it would be a challenge to get back on my bike again. Training for an event for the zoo gave me the focus and motivation to do it.

How did it feel crossing the finish line?

I was so relieved to have not fallen off my bike! It was pretty windy and by the end I’d cycled even further than planned. People think of Cheshire as flat, but there are definitely hills out there. In fact there was about 1400ft of climbing overall!

What did you enjoy the most about the event?

The sense of achievement was fantastic. And the fact that all the planning was taken care of! I didn’t have to check a map or a GPS; I could just focus on the cycling.

What’s next?

I am looking forward to learning more about the illegal wildlife trade at ‘Trade Off’, the annual conservation symposium. Like the elephant virus EEHV, the illegal wildlife trade is a global issue where we can all do something to make a difference.

Thank you to Stephen and everyone who has joined the fight against EEHV

We will Never Forget

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

21 Apr 2017

3 Peaks for Painted Dogs

To raise funds for painted dog conservation, a team of Chester Zoo staff are assailing the highest peaks of Wales, England and Scotland.

The Pack have successfully conquered Snowdon and Scafell Pike, raising over £1,000 towards their £2,500 target.


Pack Leader Joe explains what inspired him to walk for painted dogs

‘Painted dogs travel extraordinary distances as a pack, so it seemed fitting take on the team challenge of walking over 26 miles and climbing over 3,000 metres. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us towards our £2,500 target to cover the cost of a GPS collar for vital painted dog research.’



Now The Pack are facing their final challenge: Ben Nevis. As the highest mountain in the British Isles, its name is commonly translated as ‘malicious mountain’…

Wish us luck!

15 Mar 2017

Rose Gelder is part of the team that raises money to help fund our conservation work around the world. In 2016 she organised three Pokémon Go events at the zoo with the proceeds going towards our projects. The first event alone raised £17,500 and the money went towards our emergency appeal to rebuild an aviary block in Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre (CCBC).

She recently visited our songbird project in Indonesia to meet the team and see how these vital funds are making an impact on the project…

“We’ve been working with Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre in West Java for over six years. The centre is run by a small dedicated team who are experts in breeding several species of endangered birds, including Javan green magpie and black-winged starling.

Chester Zoo corporate partnership coordinator, Rose Gelder

Rose Gelder, Chester Zoo corporate partnership coordinator

Horrific experience

“We spent the first day in Indonesia in the capital Jakarta visiting the largest bird market in the city, Pramuka. This was a horrific experience. We saw so many familiar species living in disgusting conditions, including the Java sparrow, Asian fairy-bluebirds and the critically endangered Bali starling, all being kept in a small cage ready to be sold.

“We were confronted with the scale of the problem, as we travelled to Cikananga. Almost every house we passed on the drive had at least one small cage hanging outside, the sound of birdsong audible every time we stopped. We soon realised that you can hear birds singing beautifully in every village that we passed, but the forests we travelled through were all silent.

Bird market in Jakarta, Indonesia

We are well on our way to providing every single bird at Cikananga with this wonderful, state of the art enclosure.

Rose Gelder, corporate partnership coordinator

“Visiting CCBC was the perfect antidote to the visit to the markets. Faced with the realisation of how widespread the culture of keeping birds in cages was in Indonesia, it was lovely to meet the team who were doing everything they could to make sure the most critically endangered bird species don’t become extinct in the wild.

“CCBC is based in the middle of the rainforest, next to the village Cikananga. Surrounded by paddy fields and a few small villages, the forest is lush and dense. The aviaries are located behind a big steel fence, protected by two big guard dogs. The birds kept here are so valuable that CCBC has been the victim of repeated thefts, with people stealing the birds to sell for large sums of money. They no longer take any risks with their security.

The money we raised last year on our Pokemon event will be spent on a new aviary, the second out of four that drastically need rebuilding.

Rose Gelder, corporate partnership coordinator

Old vs new

“When we arrived at the centre we went to see their first new aviary block which had just been completed. The old wooden aviaries are rotten from the humidity and termite infestation, but the new building has been made of concrete and metal mesh with deep concrete foundations, meaning rats can’t access the enclosures and attack the birds.

“They are all around safer, cleaner and a much more beneficial environment for the birds to live in. With one out of four aviaries replaced, and a second fully paid for, we are well on our way to providing every single bird at Cikananga with this wonderful, state of the art enclosure. This will boost the breeding activities of these birds, so when reintroduction programmes are started there will be a healthy number of pairs to release into the wild, giving a greater chance of the species thriving in their new habitat.

Old aviary at Cikananga

New aviary at Cikananga

The new aviary block at CCBC will help boost breeding of critically endangered songbirds

“Hopefully our efforts won’t be too late to save these beautiful birds from extinction. With prices on their heads so high, it’s critical that we act now to protect these species remaining in the wild. There are concerns that as the Javan green magpie is no longer showing up on markets, it may well be extinct in the wild. We don’t want the other birds to suffer the same fate.

“Sitting at my desk in Chester, it’s hard to get a grasp of how desperate the situation for the songbirds is. Coming face to face with the issues, I’ve gained a much clearer understanding of how the illegal trade of these species is decimating these populations, and if we don’t act soon these birds will no longer be found in the wild, future generations won’t be able to enjoy their beautiful songs.

We urgently need to act – we can all make a difference to these wonderful birds.