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Ely bear expert loses permit to do close-up video research

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A world-renowned bear expert in Ely is losing his permit to do use a "den cam" and other other methods to do close-up research, KARE 11 reports.

Dr. Lynn Rogers said he received a letter from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Friday morning that he would not be getting an new permit to radio collar wild bears or video tape the creatures in their dens, citing a public safety issue.

Rogers told KARE that the letter signals "the end of my 46 years of bear research."

The researcher says his work draws nearly 7,000 visitors to the North American Bear Center in Ely each year.

"Unfortunately, in comes at a time in the most fruitful research I've ever done thanks to our ability to see the bears doing natural things and technology that allows us to get so much more," Rogers told KARE.

Thousands of viewers around the world in 2010 reportedly watched online as Lily the Black Bear give birth to her cubs, one of the results of Rogers' research.

Rogers has had his permit to conduct his research since 1999. He was ordered to remove the radio collars by July 31.

DNR's Wildlife research and policy manager, Lou Cornicelli, Ph.D., told the Star Tribune that Rogers' methods of getting close to the bears, which includes hand-feeding, has created a threat with 50 "habitiuated bears," which are becoming dependent on human contact while roaming through the woods.

Cornicelli tells the paper that public safety issues "have become intolerable," noting that bears "are breaking into cabins, sticking their heads in cars and behaving in ways wild bears would not otherwise do."

The DNR also claims Rogers didn't produce the amount of required published research that is required in his permit.

Rogers, however, claims the DNR's allegations are unfounded, and is accusing the DNR is falsify bear complains to turn the public against his research, KARE reports.

Rogers says he has not decided yet whether he will take legal action.

See KARE's report on Rogers below.

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