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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Minnesota bear researcher defends methods

  • Minnesota bear researcher Lynn Rogers defended his methods Thursday in an attempt to win back his research permit, saying his hand-feeding of wild black bears does not make the animals more dangerous.
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  • Minnesota bear researcher Lynn Rogers defended his methods Thursday in an attempt to win back his research permit, saying his hand-feeding of wild black bears does not make the animals more dangerous.
    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has accused Rogers of creating a public safety risk. The agency says bears in Rogers' study area between Tower and Ely in northern Minnesota have come to see people as a food source, and that's made them more dangerous.
    But during an administrative hearing Thursday, Rogers said he strongly believes that the bears he studies aren't more dangerous from being habituated to people from feeding, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
    "There is nothing in the literature that suggests habituation increases likelihood of attack," he argued.
    Rogers, 74, has long defended his methods, which include hand-feeding black bears.
    The DNR refused to renew Roger's research permit, and Rogers' challenge of that decision led to the hearing. In the interim, Rogers was allowed to maintain several radio collars on wild black bears but was ordered to cease with his popular "den cams," which broadcast cubs' births over the Internet.
    Under questioning from DNR attorney Linda Jensen, Rogers denied that he "trains" bears, an allegation made by DNR officials.
    In closing arguments, Rogers' attorney, David Marshall, said the DNR failed to meet its burden to show it was justified in failing to renew the permit.
    An administrative law judge likely will issue her recommendation by May — but the DNR will still have the final say. Under an agreement approved by a Ramsey County judge, the agency will choose someone who has had no involvement in Rogers' case to make the call on whether his permit will be renewed or not.

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