Liv BakerChair of the Board
Liv Baker is a conservation behaviorist and an expert in wild animal wellbeing.
Her research focuses on individuals; how individuals engage with their environments, and the roles individual, wild animals have in the health of their social groups, cultures, and populations. Dr. Baker’s work explores the similar patterns of wellbeing and behavior seen across the animal kingdom; seeing that individuals want to learn about and hold sway over their lives, that good psychological health corresponds to good physical health, that social context matters, and that positive emotions and reasonable challenges are not luxuries, but integral elements to being alive.
Dr. Baker’s conservation and wellbeing research involves a range of wild animals including, elephants, primates, arachnids, rodents, and macropods. Dr. Baker is also interested in the wellbeing of farmed animals. She collaborates with Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, NY to study animals of historically farmed species, outside of the sphere of industry.
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 Animal Welfare Science and Applied Animal Biology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. In addition to teaching in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College, 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 also the chairperson of the non-profit, PanWorks an animal ethics think tank, behavior advisor for Elephant Aid International’s integrative health team, as well as scientific advisor for the Whale Sanctuary Project.
She is a past fellow with the Centre for Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology Sydney, Australia; and Centre for Animal Welfare and Ethics, University of Cambridge, UK. Research topics of Dr. Baker’s graduate students include the behavior of anthropogenically disturbed Eastern grey kangaroos, behavioral repertoires of socially-disrupted chimpanzees, intraspecific population differences of domesticated cats, foraging behavior of rewilded Asian elephants, animal personality and impacts of ecotourism, and the effects of human visitors on the emotional valence of captive red kangaroos.