The Wild Felid Research & Management Association

WFA Council Biographies

Current Council Members

 

Mark Lotz

Mark Lotz

President 2020-2022; VP North America 2016-2019.

 Mark’s wildlife career has been devoted to studying the Florida panther, a population of puma in south Florida.  When he began his wildlife biologist job with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission nearly a quarter century ago, Florida panther management had just entered a new era.  Florida’s experimental genetic restoration, by releasing 8 female pumas from Texas into south Florida, proved to be successful and changed this small and inbred population into a more robust panther population.  However, this success led to many new challenges as panther numbers increased and they began repopulating habitats adjacent to people.  Mark’s field experience includes capturing individuals for radiocollar studies, handling neonates at dens, and locating study animals from a fix-winged aircraft to monitor population demographics for genetic restoration.   With an increased panther population, much of Mark’s time is devoted to managing human-panther conflicts, investigating depredation complaints and working with residents to resolve their predator conflict issues.  He also oversees panther outreach efforts.

Veronica Yovovich

Veronica Yovovich

Vice President North America 2020-2021.
A carnivore biologist and quantitative ecologist by training, Veronica’s work focuses on mountain lion-livestock conflict mitigation.  She spent several years studying carnivore species in a variety of land use settings across the American West before starting her graduate work in Environmental Studies at U.C. Santa Cruz, which focused on anthropogenic impacts on various components of mountain lion behavior and ecology. Currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley, her work focuses on helping livestock producers manage their operations in ways that keep livestock and carnivores safe.  Last year she was named a Central Coast Rangeland Coalition Scholar in recognition of her extension work on livestock-carnivore conflict mitigation.  Veronica spends part of each summer teaching an undergraduate field course on large mammal ecology, policy, conservation, and management in and around Yellowstone National Park that draws students from across the U.S. and beyond.  She was a WFA student representative for California, a member of the Predator Policy Working Group, is currently a member of the California Mountain Lion Science Working Group, and serves on the Education and Outreach Committee for the Central Coast Rangeland Coalition.  Veronica has been a proud member of the WFA since 2010.

 

Sandra Ortiz

Image: Sandra Ortiz

Vice President, Latin America 2016-2022 and Councilor 2014-2015. Sandra received her veterinary degree (MVZ) in 2006 from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry (FMVZ) in Mexico City and recently successfully defended her Masters at UNAM. She undertook a one-year internship in zoo animal medicine and husbandry at national zoos and has worked in clinics and private hospitals intermittently. She has participated as field veterinarian in several field projects with bats, rodents and carnivores and did a research internship at EcoHealth Alliance. From 2008 to date she has worked as field veterinarian for the “Jaguar and puma conservation project in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve (CBR)” from the Institute of Ecology, UNAM and works also for two other jaguar projects in the Yucatán Peninsula in southern Mexico. Sandra has attended and presented lectures at several conferences, workshops and meetings of jaguar conservation, wildlife anesthesia and conservation medicine. She is currently finishing her Master of Animal Health Science at UNAM and her research project is focused on determination of the prevalence of exposure to canine distemper virus (CDV) of jaguars, pumas and domestic dogs in the surroundings of the CBR, tutored by top ecology and jaguar researchers Gerardo Suzán, Gerardo Ceballos and Sharon L. Deem. Sandra is curently field representative for Wildlife Pharmaceuticals Mexico and continues to develop her research project of carnivore diseases in Calakmul and the creation of a veterinary advisory group for jaguar and puma conservation strategies in Mexico.

 

Ron Thompson

Ken Logan

WFA Secretary, 2019-2021.

Ron is a graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology. He has worked as a wildlife biologist and range conservationist for the U.S. Forest Service and as the large carnivore biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  Ron is currently the executive director for the nonprofit primeroconservation.org and has most recently worked on a University of Arizona team camera-trap project to monitor borderland jaguar and ocelot. He is currently working on a study to reduce puma predation on livestock using non-lethal methods such as condition taste aversion and synchronized calving of cattle in Sonora, Mexico.  Ron has also worked as a research associate with Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University documenting the diets of mountain lions in western Texas and informing ranchers that lions are not killing livestock in the prey-rich Trans-Pecos. For the past 10 years Ron has been working with private ranch owners in Sonora, Mexico and documenting the prey off-take by jaguars and puma so as to better inform local communities and local ranchers that healthy native prey populations reduce predation by apex carnivores and increases livestock production. Ron is a co-founding member of the governing Council for the Wild Felid Research and Management Association and past member of the Cougar Working Group for the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 

 

Jennifer Timmer

Jennifer Timmer

 

Treasurer 2020-2022.
 
Jennifer obtained her BS from Michigan State University in 2006. After working on a variety of wildlife projects in several states, including tracking bobcats in Iowa, and assisting with a puma study in Colorado, Jen returned to school to obtain her MS at Texas Tech University studying Lesser Prairie Chickens. She completed her PhD in Ecology at Colorado State University and now works for Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to assist partners with conservation needs and tools related to a breeding landbird monitoring program. Jennifer has been a member of WFA since 2010 and also served as the Colorado Student Representative for two years. 

 

Anthony Giordano

Image: Anthony Giordano, WFA Council

Past President 2020-2022; President 2016-2019; V.P. Latin America 2012-2015.
Anthony J. Giordano is the founder and executive director of S.P.E.C.I.E.S., an organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s carnivores and the ecosystems that support them.  He holds a double major B.Sc. in zoology and environmental science, a M.Sc. in conservation biology and applied ecology, and a Ph.D. in wildlife science and management.  For his doctoral work, Anthony investigated the population status and genetics of jaguars in the Gran Chaco of Paraguay, where he received a Fulbright Scholarship for his jaguar conservation, landowner outreach, and capacity-building efforts.  Anthony has extensive experience with felid conservation issues and has field experience with a diversity of species, including pumas, clouded leopards, fishing cats, lions, leopards, tigers, jaguarundis, and ocelots  He is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and The Explorer’s Club, serves on the Conservation Committee for the American Society of Mammalogists, and is an active board member for the Latin American section of the Society for Conservation Biology.  He has also published several dozen peer-reviewed scientific and popular articles. Anthony is a former Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship recipient (2010), and makes regular contributions to the Wild Felid Monitor

Lisa Haynes

Rogelio Carrera

Councilor 2019-2021. Lisa specializes in the study and conservation of the world’s wild cat species, both locally and internationally. In years past, Lisa has worked for several agencies, including the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and for Arizona Game and Fish Department as a research biologist conducting mountain lion studies. Now, as a research scientist associated with University of Arizona’s Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center, which she co-founded, she focuses on wild cat research and conservation, as well as public outreach and education regarding wild cats. She has long had the vision of University of Arizona as a hub for these efforts, especially since the University’s mascot is the “Wildcat!”  She has conducted or assisted a variety of projects including urban bobcats and mountain lions near Tucson, AZ; jaguars in Sonora, MX; a landscape-scale survey for jaguars and ocelots in the Southwestern US (emphasizing close coordination with landowners and the ranching community); a survey for sand cats in Egypt’s Western Desert; and recently a trekking and networking trip in Bhutan for future wild cat work. In addition, the UA Wild Cat Center has been the academic home of as many as 8 graduate students studying 11 species of wild cats worldwide as all or part of their graduate research. Lisa greatly enjoys mentoring and supporting these students and their projects.

Brian Kertson

Brian Kertson

 

Councilor 2017-2022.  Brian received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Forest Resources (Wildlife Science) from the University of Washington. He has been involved with felid research for 15 years with much of his work focused on cougar ecology and behavior in Washington’s diverse landscapes. Currently, Brian is a Wildlife Research Scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). His research incorporates various aspects of behavioral, spatial, and population ecology to address questions of carnivore conservation and management with an emphasis on quantifying the role of predation in ecosystems and the development of strategies that maximize coexistence between carnivores and people. Brian’s current research efforts examine what, if any, relationships exist among cougar population characteristics, space use patterns, and rates of interaction in wildland-urban landscapes and the predator-prey dynamics of systems with and without wolves. In addition to his research for WDFW, he advises a number of University of Washington graduate students on their carnivore research projects as an affiliate faculty member of the School of Environmental and Forest Science’s Wildlife Science Group. Brian has been a WFA member since 2007.

 

Mauro Lucherini

Mauro Lucherini

 

Councilor 2017-2021. Mauro was born in Italy, where he completed his PhD on animal behavioral ecology at Universitá di Siena, but has been living in Argentina since 1996. Since then, he has coordinated the activities of a young team of carnivore researchers based at Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina. He has worked on ungulates in Canada (bighorns) and Argentina (vicuñas and guanacos) and with crested porcupines, red foxes, badgers, and beach martens in Italy. His current work includes the study and conservation of the endangered Andean cat, and the analysis and mitigation of puma and Pampas fox conflicts with livestock, and the natural history and basic ecology of 10 species of South American carnivores, both through its direct work and that of a number of postgraduate students that he has trained. Mauro is a member of the Andean Cat Alliance, Panthera’s Scientific Council, and both the IUCN Canid and Cat Specialist Groups.

Yamel Rubio Rocha

Toni Ruth

Councilor 2019-2021. Yamel was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico and is currently a professor and full-time researcher at the Academic Unit of the School of Biology of the Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa (UAS). She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from the Institute of Ecology at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 2010, in collaboration with various institutions, Yamel initiated research and conservation of the jaguar in San Ignacio, Sinaloa. In 2012, with support of the federal government, this expanded to the rest of the State of Sinaloa. In 2012, Yamel promoted the creation of the Museo de Jaguar and in 2014, the Jaguar Biological Station in the municipality of San Ignacio, Sinaloa. Yamel is a 2002 founder of the El Mineral University Reserve of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, Cosalá. She has collaborated on conservation strategies for priority species such as the military macaw (Ara militaris) in Mexico and great green macaw (Ara ambiguus) in Costa Rica and has given advice to undergraduate students and published in magazines and book chapters. Lines of investigation: Ecology and conservation of flora species (amapas, pitayos, guayacanes) and fauna at risk (green macaw and felines, especialy jaguar). Environmental education. Sustainable Development and Biological Corridors. Ecotourism and Community Participation. Production of Native Plants and Reforestation. Yamel is an active member in: National Alliance for the Conservation of the Jaguar (ANCJ); Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation;  and Academic Council for the organization of the Childhood Encounters for the Conservation of Birds, Sea Turtles and the Gulf of California.

Toni Ruth

Mauro Lucherini

 

Councilor 2017-2022. Toni received her B.S. in Forest and Resource Conservation from the University of Florida, a M.S. in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University, and her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Idaho.  She began her work with cougars as a veterinarian assistant on the Florida Panther Project in southern Florida in 1987. Since then, she has studied cougar populations in Texas, New Mexico, Montana, and Idaho.  She previously worked with the Hornocker Wildlife Institute for 11 years and the Wildlife Conservation Society for 5 years. Between 1998 and 2006, Toni was the Cougar Project Leader researching the effects of wolf reestablishment on the cougar population in Yellowstone National Park. She has published numerous scientific publications in journals, Yellowstone Science, the Wild Felid Monitor, book chapters, popular articles and a soon to be published book, “Yellowstone Cougars: Ecology Before and During Wolf Reestablishment”. Toni has served on three graduate committees that focused on cougars and other carnivores. She also served on the steering committee for the 9th Mountain Lion Workshop in May 2008. For 13 years she has taught a Yellowstone Association field course on Cougar Ecology and Interactions with other Carnivores. Since moving to Salmon, Idaho in 2005, Toni has lead a mule deer habitat sampling crew and conducted Peregrine falcon, flammulated owl, bobolink, and monarch butterfly surveys for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and traveled to Patagonia under contract with Panthera. In November 2014, Toni became the High Divide Coordinator for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. She was a founding member and is the current board president for the local non-profit Salmon Valley Stewardship, a group that works to promote a healthy environment and a sustainable economy in the Salmon River Region of Idaho. She has been a member of the Wild Felid Association since its inception and currently serves on the Wild Felid Legacy Scholarship committee.

 

 

 

Former Council Members

Image: John Beecham, WFA Council

John Beecham, Interim Council (2006-2008)

Image: Chris Belden, WFA Council

Chris Belden, Councilor (2006-2011)

Rogelio Carrera, Councilor (2016-2018)

Image: Ivonne Cassaigne, WFA Council

Ivonne Cassaigne (2010-2013)

Image: Melanie Culver, WFA Council

Melanie Culver, Councilor/Treasurer (2009-2013)

Image: Deanna Dawn, WFA Council

Deanna Dawn (2006-2010)

Image: Rich DeSimone, WFA Council

Rich DeSimone, Interim Councilor (2006-2008)
Mark Elbroch

Mark Elbroch, Councilor (2016-2018)

Image: Marcella Kelly, WFA Council

Marcella Kelly (2010-2016)

Image: Gary Koehler, WFA Council

Gary Koehler, Interim Councilor (2006-2009)

Ken Logan, Secretary (2016-2018)

Donny Martorello, Interim Councilor (2006-07)

Sharon Negri, WFA Secretary

Sharon Negri, Secretary (2006-2012)

Image: Rodrigo Nunez

Rodrigo Nunez, Councilor (2014-2016)

Image: Christopher Papouchis, WFA Council

Christopher Papouchis, Councilor (2006-2016)

Image: Suzie Prange Secretary

Suzie Prange, Secretary (2012-2015)

Image: Aimee Rockhill, WFA Council

Aimee Rockhill, Councilor (2012-2015)

Image: Stan Rullman

Stan Rullman, Councilor (2014-2016)

Image: Laurel Klein, VP

Laurel Serieys, Vice President North America (2012-2015)

Cheyenne Stewart

Cheyenne Stewart, Treasurer (2017-2019)

Image: David Stoner, WFA Council

David Stoner, Councilor (2009-2013)
Linda Sweanor

Linda Sweanor, President (2006-2015), Past President (2016-2019)

Image: Mike Tewes, WFA Council

Mike Tewes, Councilor (2009-2012)

Hugh Robinson (2006-2009)

Image: Jim Williams, WFA Council

Jim Williams, Vice President (2009-2012)