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Department of Zoology



During my PhD (2015-2019) in the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter, I studied the recovery of the polecat Mustela putorius in Great Britain. My MSc was in Conservation Science from Imperial College London. For my research dissertation, I evaluated the effectiveness of a series of alternative income-generating initiatives in in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania.

Prior to this, I worked in communications and product strategy for a number of well-known international organisations and have a BSc in International Business (with German) from the University of Warwick.

I joined the Conservation Science group in July 2019 and am currently working on a synopsis of the global evidence for effective actions in reptile conservation.


I am interested in applied conservation research in systems where the social and natural sciences meet, such as human-wildlife interactions, secondary exposure of wildlife to contaminants and integrated conservation and development initiatives.

I call upon a range of disciplines in my research to suit the research question at hand. In the past, this has included social science research methods, such as quantitative surveys, designing and running focus groups, semi-structured interviews, observation and carrying out the associated analyses. I also apply ecological and ecotoxicological techniques such as quantitative chemical analyses for residues of rodenticides, stable isotope analysis, dietary analyses, mammal trapping and monitoring. 


Key publications: 

Sainsbury KA, Shore RF, Schofield H, Croose E, Campbell RD, McDonald RA (2019) Recent history, current status, conservation and management of native mammalian carnivore species in Great Britain. Mammal Review, 49: 171-188.

Sainsbury KA, Shore RF, Schofield H, Croose E, Pereira MG, Sleep D, Kitchener AC, Hantke G, McDonald RA (2018) Long-term increase in secondary exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides in European polecats Mustela putorius in Great Britain. Environmental Pollution 236: 689-698.

Sainsbury KA, Burgess ND, Sabuni F, Howe C, Puis E, Killenga R, Milner-Gulland EJ (2015) Exploring stakeholder perceptions of conservation outcomes from alternative income generating activities in Tanzanian villages adjacent to Eastern Arc Mountain forests. Biological Conservation 191: 20-28.

Research Associate

Contact Details

Room 3.01 David Attenborough Building