Dr Sandra Baker

Research Interests

My research interests relate primarily to the welfare of wild vertebrates. I am a Research Fellow and a member of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in the Department of Zooology. My current research focuses on anthropogenic animal welfare impacts on wild vertebrates. One research strand is on the impacts of wildlife management methods on terrestrial wild vertebrates (most recently rats). This includes applying a model to examine the impacts of lethal and non-lethal methods, so that welfare can be taken into account alongside other factors in making decisions about wildlife management. The work also involves identifying ways of reducing welfare impacts, and data poor areas that will benefit from future research. Another research strand involves applying and developing a model to examine the impacts of anthropogenic activities, such as marine fishing and construction work, on wild cetaceans, to highlight welfare issues in the marine environment and identify ways of reducing these. Previous work has 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. I have also 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 various aspects of trap welfare, including trap selectivity, and the performance of unregulated spring traps for rats, mice and moles – together with the implications for animal welfare. I also led a systematic review of animal welfare in the global wildlife trade.

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