June 9, 2016

Bruce Stanley Wright


(17 September, 1912 – 19 April, 1975)

Bruce Stanley Wright was born in Quebec City, Quebec. After receiving a BSc in forestry from the University of New Brunswick in 1936, he worked as a forest biologist with the Dominion Forest Service. World War II interrupted his career. As a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy he developed and commanded a frogman Unit. Following 5 years of distinguished military service, he studied at the University of Wisconsin under Aldo Leopold and received an MSc in Wildlife Management.
Returning to New Brunswick, Bruce became officer-in-charge of the eastern Canada waterfowl surveys for Ducks Unlimited. The Wildlife Management Institute of Washington D.C. took over this work done by Ducks Unlimited and formed the Northeastern Wildlife Station. Located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, it would later (in 1962) become an adjunct of the Department of Biology. Bruce was appointed Director of the Station in 1947.

As Station Director and Research Associate in biology, he supervised the overall wildlife research program, conducted personal research, directed the wildlife graduate program of the University and taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His appointment as Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Biology at the University came in 1971. That same year he also received the John Pearce Memorial Award from the Northeast Section of the Wildlife Society for contributions in the area of wildlife administration, research and public education in eastern Canada.

Bruce was instrumental in spreading the needs of conservation for safeguarding the natural resources of the province and region, and for wise resource management in New Brunswick through radio, television, public lectures and his prolific writings. He opposed polluting industries in the face of sever repercussions and warned of the dire consequences of DTT to woodcock, years before it became evident. Not all biologists accepted totally his eastern cougar findings, nor did all industrialists accept his condemnation of environmental contamination. But being a sometimes controversial figure did not diminish his productiveness.

As a noted wildlife author he published close to 100 scientific and semi-popular titles including six books on black ducks, eastern cougars, and wildlife anecdotes. Well traveled, his research interests were broad and included waterfowl, cougars, woodcock, bald eagles as well as marine vertebrates.

Prompted by declining health, Bruce retired after 27 years as the one and only Director of the Wildlife Station in 1974. He passed away in April of the following year.