Dr Sandra Baker

Research Interests

My primary research interests relate to the welfare of wild vertebrates, including human-wildlife conflict, wildlife management and wildlife trade issues. I am the Humane Society Research Fellow and a member of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU).

My earlier work focused on non-lethal wildlife management methods, including learned and generalised food aversions for managing badgers and foxes, and Conditioned Taste Aversion for protecting egg prey from crows. I also studied attitudes towards, and drivers of, fox hunting with hounds. More recently I investigated various aspects of mole control, following the 2006 UK ban on strychnine poison, including research on mole damage, the need for mole control, the efficacy and welfare impact of trapping moles, and the opinions and behaviour of farmers and other land managers in relation to the humaneness of mole management methods. Leading on from that, I studied the performance of unregulated spring traps for rats, mice and moles, and possible welfare implications. More recently I led a systematic review of animal welfare in the global wildlife trade. I have also studied the measurement of trap selectivity in relation to animal welfare and conservation.

My current research focuses on the animal welfare impact of vertebrate management methods, including applying and developing a model to examine the impacts of both lethal and non-lethal methods, and to identify ways of reducing these.

Selected Publications

Beausoleil, N.J., Mellor, D.J., Baker, L., Baker, S.E., Bellio, M., Clarke, A., Dale, A., Garlick, S., Jones, B., Harvey, A., Pitcher, B., Sherwen, S., Stockin, K. and Zito, S. (2018) ‘Feelings and Fitness’ not ‘Feelings or Fitness’ – the raison d’etre of Conservation Welfare, which aligns conservation and animal welfare objectives. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, special issue on Wild Animal Welfare, 5: Article 296.

Ellwood, S.A., Newman, C. Montgomery, R.A., Nicosia, V., Buesching, C.D., Markham, A., Mascolo, C., Trigoni, N., Pasztor, B., Dyo, V., Latora, V., Baker, S.E. and Macdonald, D.W.(2017) An Active-Radio-Frequency-Identification system capable of identifying co-locations and social-structure: validation with a wild free-ranging animal. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 00: 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12839.

Baker, S.E., Macdonald, D.W. and Ellwood, S.A. (2017) Double standards in spring trap welfare: ending inequality for rats (Rodentia: Muridae), mice (Rodentia: Muridae) and moles (Insectivora: Talpidae) in the United Kingdom. IN: M.P. Davies, C. Pfeiffer, & W.H. Robinson (ed.) Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Urban Pests. 9th. Birmingham. 9-12July 2017. Pureprint Group, Sussex, UK, 139-145.

Baker, S.E. (2017) A Voluntary Trap Approval scheme to end trap welfare inequality in the UK. Animal Welfare, 26(1): 131-133.

Dubois, S., Fenwick, N., Ryan, E.A., Baker, L., Baker, S.E., Beausoleil, N.J., Carter, S., Cartwright, B., Costa, F., Draper, C., Griffin, J., Grogan, A., Howald, G., Jones, B., Littin, K.E., Lombard, A.T., Mellor, D.J., Ramp, D., Schuppli, C.A. and Fraser, D. (2017) International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control. Conservation Biology, 31(4): 753-760. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12896/epdf.

Feber, R., Raebel, E.M., D’Cruze, N., Macdonald, D.W. and Baker, S.E. (2017) Some animals are more equal than others: wild animal welfare in the media. Bioscience, 67(1): 62-72. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biw144.

Baker, S.E., Ellwood, S.A., Johnson, P.J. and Macdonald, D.W. (2016) Moles and mole control on British farms, amenities and gardens after strychnine withdrawal. Animals, 6(6): 39. Special edition on: Ethical and Welfare Dimensions of the Management of Unwanted Wildlife.

Virgós, E., Lozano, J., Cabezas-Díaz, S., Macdonald, D.W., Zalewski, A., Atienza, J.C., Proulx, G., Ripple, W.J., Rosalino, L.M., Santos-Reis, M., Johnson, P.J., Malo, A.F. and Baker, S.E. (2016)A poor international standard for trap selectivity threatens carnivore conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 25(8): 1409-1419. doi: 10.1007/s10531-016-1117-7.

Baker, S.E., Sharp, T.M. & Macdonald, D.W. (2016) Assessing animal welfare impacts in the management of European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), European moles (Talpa europaea) and Carrion crows (Corvus corone). PLoS ONE, 11(1): e0146298.

Moorhouse, T.P., Dahlsjö, C.A.L., Baker, S.E, D'Cruze, N. & Macdonald, D.W. (2015) The customer isn't always right - conservation and animal welfare implications of the increasing demand for wildlife tourism. PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0138939.

Baker, S.E. & Sharp, T.M. (2015) Welfare in commensal rodent trapping: one step forward, two steps back. Animal Welfare, 24(3): 369-371.

Baker, S.E., Shaw, R.F., Atkinson, R.P.D., West, P. & Macdonald, D.W. (2015) Potential welfare impacts of kill-trapping European moles (Talpa europaea) using scissor traps and Duffus traps: a post-mortem examination study. Animal Welfare, 24(1): 1-14.

Bush, ER, Baker, SE, Macdonald, DW (2014) Global trade in exotic pets 2006-2012. Conservation Biology, 28(3): 663-676.

Baker SE, Cain R, van Kesteren F, Zommers ZA, D'Cruze N, Macdonald DW. (2013) Rough trade: animal welfare in the global wildlife trade. Bioscience, 63(12): 928-938.

Baker SE., Macdonald DW (2012) Not so humane mole tube traps. Animal Welfare, 21(4): 613-615.

Baker SE, Ellwood SA, Tagarielli VL, Macdonald DW (2012) Mechanical performance of rat, mouse and mole spring traps, and possible implications for welfare performance. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e39334.

Baker SE, Ellwood SA, Slater D, Watkins R, Macdonald DW (2008) Food aversion plus odor cue protects crop from wild mammals. Journal of Wildlife Management, 72 (3), 785-791.

Baker SE, Johnson PJ, Slater D, Watkins RW, Macdonald DW (2007) Learned food aversion with and without an odour cue for protecting untreated baits from wild mammal foraging. In Conservation Enrichment and Animal Behaviour (ed R. Swaisgood) Applied Animal Behaviour Science, special edition, 102 (3-4), 410-428.

Baker SE, Singleton G, Smith R (2006) The nature of the beast: using biological processes in vertebrate pest management. Pages 173-185 in Macdonald DW, Service K, eds. Key Topics in Conservation Biology. Blackwell Publishing.