My research interests relate primarily 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.
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.
Baker, S.E. (2017) A Voluntary Trap Approval scheme to end trap welfare inequality in the UK. Animal Welfare, 26(1): 131-133.
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. 9-12 July 2017. Pureprint Group, Sussex, UK, 139-145.
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.
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.
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.
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. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146298
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., Paul West & 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, E.R., Baker, S.E. & Macdonald, D.W. (2014) Global trade in exotic pets 2006-2012. Conservation Biology, 28(3): 663-676
Baker, S. E., Cain, R., Van Kesteren, F., Zommers, Z. A., D’Cruze, N. and Macdonald, D. W. (2013), “Rough Trade: Animal Welfare in the Global Wildlife Trade”, BioScience, 63(12): 928-938
Baker, S. E. and Macdonald, D. W. (2012), “Not so humane mole tube traps“, Animal Welfare, 21(4): 613-615
Baker, S. E., Ellwood, S. A., Tagarielli, V. and Macdonald, D. W. (2012), “Mechanical Performance of Rat, Mouse and Mole Spring Traps, and Possible Implications for Welfare Performance”, PLoS ONE, 7(6), e39334
Dugdale, H. L., Davison, D., Baker, S. E., Ellwood, S. A., Newman, C., Buesching, C. and Macdonald, D. W. (2011), “Female teat size is a reliable indicator of annual breeding success in European badgers: Genetic validation”, Mammalian Biology, 76(6): 716-721
Kilshaw, K., Sellers, P., Baker, S. E., Macdonald, D. W. and Johnson, P. J. (2011), “Hunt sightings as a tool for monitoring the distribution and abundance of brown hare Lepus europaeus in UK agricultural landscapes”, Acta Theriologica, 56(2): 149-155
Baker, S. E., Ellwood, S. A., Slater, D., Watkins, R. W. and Macdonald, D. W. (2008), “Food aversion plus odor cue protects crop from wild mammals”, Journal of Wildlife Management, 72(3): 785-791
Baker, S. E., Johnson, P. J., Slater, D., Watkins, R. and Macdonald, D. W. (2007), “Learned food aversion with and without an odour cue for protecting untreated baits from wild mammal foraging”, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 102(3-4): 410-428
Macdonald, D. W. and Baker, S. E. (2006), “The state of Britain’s mammals 2006”, Mammals Trust UK, London
Baker, S. E., Singleton, G. and Smith, R. (2006), “The nature of the beast: using biological processes in vertebrate pest management”, 173-185, in Key Topics in Conservation Biology Blackwell Publishing, Oxford
McLaren, G. W., Thornton, P. D., Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., Baker, S. E., Mathews, F. and Macdonald, D. W. (2005), “The use and assessment of ketamine-medetomidine-butorphanol combinations for field anaesthesia in wild European badgers (Meles meles) “, Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 32(6): 367-372
McLaren, G. W., Thornton, P. D., Newman, C., Buesching, C. D., Baker, S. E., Mathews, F. and Macdonald, D. W. (2005), “High rectal temperature indicates an increased risk of unexpected recovery in anaesthetized badgers. “, Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia, 32(1): 48-52
Macdonald, D. W. and Baker, S. E. (2005), “The state of Britain’s Mammals 2005”, Mammals Trust UK, London
Thornton, P. D., Newman, C., Johnson, P. J., Buesching, C., D., Baker, S. E., Slater, D., Johnson, D. P. and Macdonald, D. W. (2005), “Preliminary comparison of four anaesthetic techniques in badgers (Meles meles)”, Veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia, 32: 40-47
Baker, S. E., Ellwood, S. A., Watkins, R. and Macdonald, D. W. (2005), “Non-lethal control of wildlife: using chemical repellents as feeding deterrents for the European badger Meles meles”, Journal of Applied Ecology, 42: 921-931
Baker, S. E., Ellwood, S. A., Watkins, R. W. and Macdonald, D. W. (2005), “A dose-response trial with ziram-treated maize and free-ranging European badgers Meles meles”, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 93: 309-321
Cox, R., Baker, S. E., Berdoy, M. and Macdonald, D. W. (2004), “Protecting egg prey from carrion crows: the potential of aversive conditioning.”, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 87(3-4): 325-342
Macdonald, D. W., Buesching, C., D., Stopka, P., Henderson, J., Ellwood, S. A. and Baker, S. E. (2004), “Encounters between two sympatric carnivores: red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and European badgers (Meles meles)”, Journal of Zoology, 263: 385-392
Macdonald, D. W. and Baker, S. E. (2004), “Non-lethal control of fox predation: the potential of generalised aversion”, Animal Welfare, 13: 77-85
Aebischer, N., Baker, S. E., Johnson, P. J., Macdonald, D. W. and Reynolds, J. C. (2003), “Hunting and fox numbers in the United Kingdom”, Nature, 423: 400
Baker, S. E. and Macdonald, D. W. (2000), “Foxes and foxhunting on farms in Wiltshire: a case study”, Journal of Rural Studies, 16: 185-201
Baker, S. E. and Macdonald, D. W. (1999), “Non-lethal predator control: exploring the options”, 251-266, in Advances in vertebrate pest management Filander Verlag, Fürth