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Memorable Manitobans: Allan John Pakulak (1940-1973)

Wildlife biologist.

Born at Edmonton, Alberta on 1 May 1940, he moved to Winnipeg with his family two years later. At the age of 12, he contracted rheumatic fever, which left him bedridden for nearly a year. Doctors speculated that he would be an invalid for the rest of his life. While convalescing, his interest in hunting, fishing and wilderness camping was stimulated and, after recovering, he became an active weight-lifter and football player. He received an Animal Science degree from the University of Manitoba in 1967, and a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in 1969.

His professional career began in 1962, in the employ of the Manitoba Wildlife Branch, under the supervision of E. F. Bossenmaier, J. L. Howard, and G. W. Malaher. In 1966, he became involved in a research study of Canada Geese at Churchill, Manitoba that formed the subject of his Master’s thesis. Between 1968 and 1970, he coordinated waterfowl surveys along the Hudson Bay coast, from Cape Tatnum to the Manitoba-Nunavut border. He established a research station at Cape Churchill as a base for more in-depth studies of Canada Geese and Snow Geese. During the early 1970s, he worked as a wetland development specialist in the Interlake region of Manitoba, continued his work with Canada Geese, and was active in acquiring and developing wildlife habitat on behalf of the provincial government. A 8,000-acre land parcel north of Winnipeg, formerly known as the St. Andrews Bog, became the wildlife management area of Oak Hammock Marsh. His development plan for this area was completed in early 1973.

Pakulak was killed in a helicopter crash on 25 July 1973, while performing waterfowl surveys near Netley Marsh. He is commemorated by cairns near the crash site and at Oak Hammock Marsh.

More information:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Pakulak Commemorative Cairn

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Wildlife Biologists Commemorative Cairn

Sources:

“Allan John Pakuluk, 1940-1973”, Wildlife Society Bulletin, Volume 8, Number 2, pages 165-167, Summer 1980.

This profile was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and Dale Wrubleski.

Page revised: 25 August 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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