The Wild Felid Research & Management Association

Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship


WFA will begin accepting applications for the 2024 Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship starting January 1, 2024
Click on "Scholarship Application Criteria" below to learn how to apply.


The Wild Felid Research and Management Association began awarding the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship in 2009 to encourage and support graduate level university students involved in wild felid research. To date, 38 scholarships totaling over $44,000 have been awarded. The scholarship honors dedicated biologists who lost their lives while seeking to understand and contribute to the conservation of wildlife: Dave Maehr, Ian Ross, Rocky Spencer, Eric York, Deanna Dawn, Donna Krucki, and now, Howard Quigley.   

This  summer WFA awarded 1 Legacy Scholarship. Congratulations go out to Bárbara Isabela Escobar Anleu. Bárbara is studying the diet of and habitat connectivity for 5 cat species in Guatemala. We would like to thank the great group of students who applied this year. If eligible, we encourage each of them to consider applying again in 2024. 

Scholarship Application Criteria

Congratulations to the 2023 scholarship recipient!
Read about her and her project here >
Read about our 2022 recipients here >
Read about our 2021 recipients here >
Read about our 2020 recipients here >

Read about our 2019 recipients here>

Read about our 2018 recipients here>

Read about our 2017 recipients here>

Read about our 2016 recipients here>



To learn about the biologists for whom the scholarship was created, read on. Scholarships are made possible through grants and donations to WFA from The Summerlee Foundation, Dee Dawn, Altria Group, WFA members and other contributors.

Image bullet: Puma track Deanna Dawn (1961 – 2012) — Wildlife Biologist & Consultant; M.S. from San Jose State University, CA; WFA founding member and member of WFA Scholarship and Election Committees.

Click here to make a donation to the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship in Deanna's honor.

Image bullet: Puma trackDonna Krucki (1956 – 2014) - naturalist, Park Ranger for Orange County, California, and educator who contributed significantly to the understanding of mountain lion ecology and behavior. After retirement, Donna worked full time with the UC Davis southern California mountain lion project.

Click here to make a donation to the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship in Donna's honor.

Image bullet: Puma track Dave Maehr (1956 – 2008) — University of Kentucky Professor and former Florida Panther Team Leader for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.
Read a testimonial…

Image bullet: Puma track Howard Quigley (1952 – 2022) — Carnivore ecologist and conservationist for the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, Craighead Beringia South, and most recently, Panthera, where he led the Jaguar Conservation Program.               
Read a testimonial…

Image bullet: Puma track Ian Ross (1958 – 2003) — Canadian biologist who studied a variety of large carnivores, including pumas.               
Read a testimonial…

Image bullet: Puma track Rocky Spencer (1952 – 2007) — Biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, who was dedicated to studying pumas and educating the public on how to coexist with them.
Read a testimonial…

Image bullet: Puma track Eric York (1970 – 2007) — Researcher and field biologist expert in capturing and handling wild felids, including snow leopards and pumas.
Read a testimonial…

Information on applying for the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship is provided below.

Scholarship Focus in 2024

Scholarships will be open to students involved in research on any Western Hemisphere felid in 2024. The Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship will be offered annually as funds allow. Look for possible changes in the number and amount of the awards offered for 2024. Those interested in contributing to an enduring scholarship fund can do so on the Membership page.

Scholarship and Administration

The WFA's Scholarship Committee administers the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship and selects recipients, who are subject to approval by a majority of the WFA board of directors. The Scholarship Committee reserves the right not to award a scholarship or to award more than one scholarship during a calendar year, depending on the Committee's opinion of the applicants' qualifications and the availability of funds. All Committee decisions are final.

 Application Criteria

Applicants for this year's Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must be a member of the Wild Felid Research and Management Association. (You may submit a membership form with payment to WFA when submitting your scholarship application if you are not currently a member);
  2. Student applicants must have completed a Bachelor of Science (or Arts) Degree by July 1 of this year and be enrolled in a graduate program in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management, or a related natural resource field;
  3. Recipients of the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship agree to provide at least 1 update of their research in the Wild Felid Monitor.


Student Application components:

  • Current résumé
  • Copy of your undergarduate diploma and your acceptance letter into a graduate program in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Management, or a related natural resource field.
  • Two letters of reference (including email addresses). One reference shall be from a professor familiar with your academic capabilities and accomplishments. The second reference shall be from a supervisor whom you worked for in a natural resources–related position (volunteer or internship work is acceptable)
  • In a word document: Short essay (500-750 words) describing: (1) your interests in wild felid research; (2) your career goals; (3) how you would use the award to further your professional development; and (4) your demonstration of financial need.
    At the top of your essay, provide the following so we may included it in the summer issue of Wild Felid Monitor: Name and email address; degree applying for; department and university attending; major advisor and their email address; thesis/dissertation title; research objectives; completion date.

To see how committee members score applications, click here >

 Submitting the application

Applicants must send their applications electronically. Please clearly name files with your last name and subject (e.g., Smith WFLS Essay.doc). Emailed copies of scanned transcripts are also acceptable for consideration, though the Scholarship Committee may ask for certified transcripts prior to final selection. References can also send their letters electronically.

Application materials must be received by the Scholarship Chairperson by March 30.   

Address email correspondence to the Scholarship Committee Chairperson: Dr. Anthony Giordano ( and write "2023 WFLS Application" on the Subject Line.