Bear feeding at the North American Bear Center in Ely. Photo by Michael Lore via Flickr.
Lynn Rogers, who has studied black bears in northern Minnesota for 46 years, was recently denied a new research permit by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
In a letter to Rogers, the DNR says Rogers’ research, which includes hand-feeding wild bears, walking through the woods with them, and installing video cameras in their dens, is endangering the public and not producing sufficient research to justify the practices.
The bear video cameras have become particularly well-known in recent years, as enthusiasts have tuned into live webcams from all over the world to watch bears hibernate, give birth and raise their cubs.
Rogers contends that the denial is unsubstantiated, and says the move is politically motivated. On his organization’s website, Rogers issued a statement to supporters, saying, “The DNR expressed deep anger over the number of letters we asked you to send in support of protection for radio-collared bears and over comments on Facebook against hunters following the death of Hope.”
The researcher has sought a meeting to discuss the controversy with Governor Mark Dayton, who has reportedly accepted the offer. Rogers’ organization has also started collecting donations for a legal defense fund.