Liv Baker, PhD, Executive Director

Dr Liv Baker is a conservation behaviorist and an expert in wild animal welfare. Her research focuses on the role individual, wild animals have in the health of their social groups and populations. Dr Baker’s work explores the similar patterns of well-being and behavior seen across the animal kingdom. Dr Baker’s conservation and welfare research projects involve a range of wild animals, including, elephants, cetaceans, primates, arachnids, rodents, and macropods. Dr Baker has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Mount Holyoke College, USA; an MSc in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA; and she earned her PhD in Applied Animal Biology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. In addition to teaching at Hunter College, CUNY, USA in the Animal Behavior and Conservation program, she is research director with Mahouts Elephant Foundation, UK, with whom she has developed the program, “The Compassionate 3 Rs of Conservation: Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Rewilding”. Dr Baker is behavior advisor for Elephant Aid International’s integrative health team, as well as scientific advisor for the Whale Sanctuary Project and past fellow with the Centre for Compassionate Conservation, Australia.

Shelley Alexander, PhD

Dr. Shelley Alexander has conducted field-based and GIS analysis of large carnivore ecology and studied human-wildlife conflict in the Canadian Rockies since 1990. Shelley specialized in wolves and coyotes, beginning her career as a field technician for the Banff Wolf Project.  She also worked as an animal handler for the Dalhousie University’s Animal Research Station, Nova Scotia, where she hand-reared coyote pups, studied wolf pack behavior, and examined the effectiveness of non-lethal deterrents to reduce coyote depredation of sheep. Her doctoral research addressed road fragmentation effects on 13 mammal species in Banff and Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Using extensive snow tracking, GIS and Remote Sensing (RS) she examined habitat relationships, species co-occurrence, the barrier effect of traffic volume, and identified optimal sites for placing wildlife crossing structures on the Trans-Canada Highway. Since 2001, she has worked as a faculty member for the Department of Geography and the Master’s of GIS Program, University of Calgary. In 2005, Shelley launched The Calgary Coyote Project, studying regional urban and rural coyote ecology and human-coyote conflicts across Canada, and she spearheaded the web-based education and on-line mapping system, Living with Coyotes. The Foothills Coyote Initiative now encompases Calgary and the foothills parkland natural region surrounding the city, and seeks to understand human-coyote relationships throughout this area. She leads the UofC Canid Conservation Science Lab, and has been a Principal Investigator and/or Collaborator on several other projects since 2001, including: The Raincoast Wolf Project, the Swift Fox Critical Habitat Project, and the Calakmul Road Effects Project in Yucatan, MX.  Her newest research collaboration has taken her to Zimbabwe, where she is employing GIS in the conservation of the endangered Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus). She recently joined the Science Advisory Board for Project Coyote (USA). 

 Sarah. M. Bexell, PhD

Dr. Sarah M. Bexell has worked in wildlife conservation, humane education and sustainable development for over 25 years. She holds a B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Augustana College, M.A. in biological anthropology from Northern Illinois University, M.Ed. in secondary science education from Georgia State University and a PhD in early childhood education with a cognate in science education from Georgia State University. Currently she is Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work as well as Director of Humane Education for the University of Denver’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection. She is also the Director of Conservation Education at China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. At the University of Denver she teaches courses and internships in Sustainable Development and Global Practice, Humane Education and Animal Studies.   

Sara Dubois, PhD

Dr. Sara Dubois is Chief Scientific Officer for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), where she directs province-wide welfare science operations, education and advocacy projects. She has worked on issues ranging from wildlife rehabilitation and oil spill response to captive wild animal management, exotic pets, urban wildlife conflict, and compassionate conservation. She also assists in wildlife cruelty investigations.A wildlife biologist, whose main area of expertise is in wildlife welfare and human dimensions, Sara holds a B.Sc. from the University of Victoria and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also a Registered Professional Biologist in BC, a former board member of the Wildlife Rehabilitators Network of BC, and Past President of the Oiled Wildlife Society of BC. In addition, as Adjunct Professor at the UBC Animal Welfare Program, she runs an applied biology practicum course for undergraduate and graduate students to get hands-on experience with animals.

Lori Marino, PhD

Dr. Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence who was on the faculty of Emory University for twenty years.  Lori is president of The Whale Sanctuary Project, whose mission is to create the first permanent seaside sanctuaries for orcas (killer whales) and beluga whales in North America.  She is also executive director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, a science-based non-profit organization focused on bringing academic scholarship to animal protection efforts. She is also science director for The Someone Project, with Farm Sanctuary.Lori is internationally known for her research on the evolution of the brain and intelligence in dolphins and whales (as well as primates and farmed animals). She has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers, book chapters, and magazine articles on marine mammal biology and cognition, comparative brain anatomy, self-awareness in other animals, human-nonhuman animal relationships, the evolution of intelligence, and  marine mammal captivity issues, such as, dolphin assisted therapy and the educational claims of the zoo and aquarium industry. In 2001 she co-authored a ground-breaking study offering the first conclusive evidence for mirror self-recognition in bottlenose dolphins, after which she decided against further research with captive animals. Lori is a Creative Affiliate with the Safina Center and was featured as a National Geographic Innovator in 2014.  She appears in several films and television programs, including the 2013 documentary Blackfish, about killer whale captivity, and Unlocking The Cage, the 2016 documentary on the Nonhuman Rights Project.

Kristen Walker, PhD

Dr. Kristen Walker is a wildlife welfare biologist with a passion for advocating for wildlife species. She has a background in the development and implementation of wildlife projects, including the development of pain management protocols, studies of behavioural ecology, and projects focused on the humane treatment and co-existence with wildlife.  She has worked with a variety of species including giant pandas, polar bears, sea otters, sea lions, cattle and more recently urban coyotes.Originally from the United States, Kristen completed a BSc in Biology at San Diego State University and an MSc in Biology from Portland State University. After recognizing the impact wildlife research can have on individual animals, Kristen moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where she completed a PhD in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia. For her PhD she assessed and helped mitigate the pain responses of wild sea lions to highly invasive marking procedures, including abdominal surgery and hot-iron branding. After her graduate studies, Kristen spent time as a wildlife biologist and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Veterinary Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Calgary. Kristen returned back to the University of British Columbia where she now holds a tenure-track faculty position in the Applied Animal Biology Program. Kristen focuses on educating students on compassionate conservation topics, wildlife management, and animal behaviour and welfare. She provides her students with experiential learning opportunities in the area of wildlife welfare. She is now involved in projects aimed at co-existing with wildlife in urban environments.