Peter Bacon (17th Apr 1938 - 24th Feb 2003)

Trinidad and Tobago Icons Vol 1

Peter Robin Bacon was born on April 17th 1938 in Reading, England. After completing grammar school, he worked at the Museum of Natural History, England. He attained his Bachelor of Science (1961) and Postgraduate Certificate in Education (1962) from the University of London.

He taught at St. Mary’s College and Trinity College, Trinidad while he pursued his doctoral degree at UWI St. Augustine. He produced a seminal thesis on the ecology of the Caroni Swamp and was the campus’ first Ph.D. graduate in zoology in 1969.

Bacon lectured in zoology at UWI St. Augustine (1970-1980), the University of Calabar, Nigeria (1981-1982) and UWI Mona (1982-1993). He returned to UWI St. Augustine as Professor and Head of the Department of Life Sciences in 1993. He piloted research on the ecology of coastal wetlands and invertebrates, coastal ecosystem management and developmental impact assessment in tropical islands.

Bacon also supervised research on the Caroni and Nariva Swamps in Trinidad and wetland areas in Tobago. He was instrumental in providing improved facilities for the department’s postgraduate students and was an architect of the Master of Science programme “Science for the Management of Tropical Environments”.

Outside the University, he was a Regional Co-ordinator of the Wetland Restoration Group of the International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau and member of the UNEP/UNESCO Task Team on Impact of Expected Climate Change on Mangroves. He was a consultant to several international bodies including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In Trinidad and Tobago, he served on the Wildlife Conservation Committee, the National Wetlands Management Committee, the boards of the Institute of Marine Affairs and the Asa Wright Nature Centre and was an active member of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club.

Bacon researched the biology and conservation of leatherback turtles in the 1970s and 1980s which resulted in the publication of several articles. He was honoured by IOCARIBE for his dedication and service in establishing and conducting the Western Atlantic Turtle Symposium in Costa Rica (1983).

He authored several other scientific papers, manuals and books including “The Natural Resources of Trinidad and Tobago” and “Flora and Fauna of the Caribbean”. With his wife Tyra, he co-authored nature conservation stories for children. He passed away on February 24th 2003.