Ely researcher in court Monday in plea to keep GPS collars on bears

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Minnesota bear researcher Lynn Rogers will be in Ramsey County Court Monday to ask a judge for a temporary restraining order to allow him to keep GPS collars on 10 bears to continue his studies, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The Ely-based Rogers filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources last Tuesday after his request for a reprieve from Gov. Mark Dayton failed.

The DNR said last month that they would not renew Rogers' permit to conduct his research. The permit expires on Tuesday.

The Pioneer Press takes a closer look at Rogers' fight with the DNR here.

Rogers has been conducting research on bears for the past 46 years. He uses a “den cam” that streams live video of bears in their habitat on the Internet, as well as other other methods to do close-up research.

DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen told MPR that Rogers has failed to publish peer-review research on his bear studies, and that Rogers' practice of hand-feeding bears to gain their trust has drawn more than 50 bears closer to Ely -- and closer to humans.

Niskanen told many citizens in the area "have told the DNR that they've suffered damage from these bears, that are emboldened to come seek out people for food and that they don't feel safe around them."

Rogers is afraid if he can't track his bears because of the collars it could jeopardize his research, and jeopardize the bears.

"They'd be killed during hunting season; they will go to hunters' baits just the same as any other bear. And the years of data that we've got built up in these bears would be gone," Rogers told MPR.

Rogers said his work draws nearly 7,000 visitors to his North American Bear Center in Ely each year.

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DNR officers shoot research bear near Ely

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.