Popular bear researcher Lynn Rogers loses legal fight against DNR

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The researcher known to TV audiences as "the man who walks with bears" may never get to do so again in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Supreme Court will not get involved in an ongoing legal battle between Lynn Rogers and the state's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), effectively ending his effort to secure his right to put radio tracking collars on black bears for research purposes.

When the DNR denied him the permits necessary to do that research, he took the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which ultimately stood behind the agency. Rogers subsequently appealed that court's decision, but the Minnesota Supreme Court this month decided not to hear the case, according to court records.

Rogers's unconventional research methods often saw him hand-feeding the bears in northeastern Minnesota, but those activities – which made him both popular and controversial – are now at an end.

Wildlife officials expressed concern that his chummy relations with the bears were training them to see humans as a source of food and thus creating a danger to the public. Nonetheless, he was the subject of a number of television nature programs.

The Associated Press says he also garnered a "devoted following" when he showed the birth of a bear cub over the Internet on a webcam in 2010.

While this is perhaps the final blow to his research efforts, not all is lost for Rogers. As part of its ruling upholding the DNR earlier this year, the state court of appeals decided he could still use webcams in bear caves.

When that decision was handed down, Rogers told the Star Tribune he was considering appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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