Minn. Bear Researcher Wins Temporary Reprieve
ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A Minnesota bear researcher known for broadcasting the births of cubs over the Internet won a temporary reprieve Monday in his fight with the state over its decision not to renew his permits to radio-collar wild bears.
With help from a Ramsey County judge, research Lynn Rogers and the Department of Natural Resources settled on a temporary agreement that allows Rogers to keep radio collars on 10 bears. Rogers also will be allowed to continue hand-feeding bears around his research center near Ely in northeastern Minnesota under certain conditions.
However, the deal bans him from putting live den cams on the Internet. That practice had drawn international attention to his work.
The DNR questions the academic value of Rogers’ work and an agency spokesman says the DNR will be closely monitoring him. DNR officials contend Rogers’ practice of hand-feeding bears taught them to see humans as a source of food, creating a risk to the public.
The agency says it still wants to revoke Rogers’ research permit, which was set to end Wednesday.
Rogers, 74, said Monday that he is pleased with the compromise, which came after Rogers sued the DNR last week.
“It’s just unbelievable that we could take on the DNR and win. We have such a strong case. The judge saw that,” Rogers told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “So we are allowed to continue and we’ll have an investigation.”
Rogers’ video from inside bear dens was broadcast to hundreds of classrooms across the country.
Sue Mansfield, Rogers’ research assistant, said hundreds of schoolchildren would be disappointed by the end of the streaming video. But Mansfield praised the agreement for allowing the researchers to continue monitoring their bears.
The case is expected to go before a state administrative law judge in the next six to nine months.
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