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Ely bear researcher files lawsuit against Minn. DNR

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Nationally-acclaimed bear researcher Lynn Rogers is suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources after he was informed last month that he was losing his permit to study the animals at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely, the Pioneer Press reports.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court comes a day after Rogers met with Gov. Mark Dayton and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr regarding the DNR's decision.

Rogers, 72, has studied bears for 46 years and has held a DNR permit since 1999. Rogers uses radio-transmitter tracking collars and den webcams in his studies.

Each year, the research center's website attracts more than 6 million visitors that follow "Lily" and her cubs. The mother bear gave birth to twins earlier this year with thousands of viewers watching online.

But the DNR says Rogers' methods, including hand-feeding the bears, have caused the animals to lose their fear of humans and become a public safety threat to Ely residents.

Rogers has been ordered to remove the radio collars and shut down the cameras by July 31.

Rogers says the DNR's decision could spell the end to his career as well as a prime fundraiser for his nonprofit enterprises the WRI and the North American Bear Center in Ely, the Pioneer Press said.

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Wildlife officials shot and killed a collared yearling black bear Thursday after it went into an Ely-area garage. There were children in the area, according to reports. The bear had been collared in July by Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely, but it wasn’t one of the well-known bears tracked by Rogers and other researchers or followed by the public on Internet webcams.