ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) A Minnesota man who brought black bears into homes around the world has been told to shut down his research.
Dr. Lynn Rogers set up a web camera that let anyone with a computer watch a bear cub being born. But he got so close and comfortable to the animals, that Minnesota wildlife officials are worried one of the bears may hurt another person.
For 46 years, Rogers has dedicated his life to the study of the North American Black bear. Now the cameras and the collars must go and Rogers’ research will end.
“I’m actually just devastated,” the researcher said.
The DNR is not renewing Rogers’ permit to do research.
“This was not an easy decision; it was not made spur of the moment. We’ve been talking about his issue for years, have laid out some general guidelines for what we would like to see in a research permit, and those really haven’t been achieved,” said Dr. Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s Wildlife Research and Police Manager.
Officials says they’re not renewing Rogers’ research permit, because they say he’s never published any of his findings.
They’re also worried about safety, saying the bears have become too comfortable around humans.
“These bears have been trained to come to people as a source of food so they are seeking humans out as a source of food rather than just feeling at a location,” Cornicelli said.
Rogers says he doesn’t believe the DNR’s story.
“Lack of publications, public safety, our behavior with research bears are unfounded and appear to be written to sway the public,” Rogers said.
Rogers believes the DNR is upset that so many people wrote in complaining about the shooting of some collared bears. He says they have been building a case against him for years.
“We’ve been in conversation with him for several years with expectations with regards to the permit and also our long standing concerns about public safety,” Cornicelli said.
The DNR admits there have been concerns for a while but now is the time to go in a new direction.
“I have no choice but to comply,” Rogers said.
Rogers has until July 31 to shut down the den cameras and take the radio collars off of about 12 black bears.
Although his permit has not been renewed, the North American Bear Center will remain untouched.