Meet Our Team 11/08/2016


How long have you worked here? 32 years.

What animals do you work with? Birds - over the years so many different species, doesn’t really matter what it is, so long as it’s a bird!

Tell us an interesting facts about you: We lived right outside the zoo so I would spend my of my childhood days in the zoo observing many of the fantastic animals. My Dad was friends with the founder of the zoo, George Mottershead, so I spent a lot of time with him as a child and he was a true inspiration. My Dad used to collect animals, so our house was always filled with animals.

I remember one Christmas, Mum received a DIY pair of Crocodile shoes from Dad, which turned out to be a live crocodile! Another year it was a DIY snake skin handbag - this turned out to be a six foot boa constrictor. Weird sense of humour had Dad, we were always sharing our home with a vast array of weird and wonderful animals, but never made any fashion accessories out of them! Our garden was filled with aviaries filled with exotic, coulourful and often noisy birds, so from a young age I developed a love of birds.

Andy Woolham - Chester Zoo

Why did you become a keeper? As lived near the zoo and visited often all the staff knew me. One day my Mum had a knock on the door from Peter Bloomfield (the assistant curator of birds at the time) he wanted to speak to me and told me about a job as a bird keeper, I had an interview the next day and started the following week and I’ve never looked back.

What’s your favourite animal and why? Probably the Hyacinth Macaw, stunning to look at and they have brains as well.

What’s the best part of your job? The birds

Humboldt penguins at Chester Zoo
Humboldt penguins at Chester Zoo

What’s the worst part of your job? I hate going home if there is a bird which is unwell, I tend to worry about them overnight

What’s been your most memorable moment in your career to date? 3 really special moments spring to mind, Hand rearing the first ever Andean Condor, breeding Philippine Cockatoo for the first time and the Mount Apo Lorikeet for the first time in captivity since 1908

What’s so special about Chester Zoo? The people, I’ve grown up with so many of my colleagues, and have forged real friendships with so many of them, it makes a real difference when you have a working environment involving animals, with likeminded committed people, with a sense of humour!

Have you visited any of our conservation projects abroad? If so which ones and what did you do? No, I never have. I fully support these initiatives, and am really pleased that keepers get these opportunities. Also I’m too old to rough it now!