Dayton, bear researcher Rogers meet Mondayby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Black bear researcher Lynn Rogers meets with Gov. Dayton on Monday, with hopes on convincing the governor to allow him to continue his controversial program beyond the end of this month.
The Minnesota DNR announced on June 28 the agency would not be renewing Rogers' research permit, which allows him to place cameras in bear dens and GPS collars on twelve study bears in the Ely area. The DNR decision gave Rogers until the end of the month to remove the collars.
Rogers says he hopes the governor will extend that deadline, "so that there's time for a thorough investigation of the claims about our publication record, about public safety, about bears being nuisances, all the stuff that's been claimed."
The DNR says Rogers' practice of feeding bears to gain their trust has created a public safety risk. The agency also says Rogers has not published enough peer-reviewed research since it first issued him a permit in 1999.
"As we weigh the potential public safety risk, against the lack of research outcomes, it really doesn't change our decision," said DNR Wildlife Research manager Lou Cornicelli.
Rogers says his goal is to cooperate with the DNR, but he wants the governor to investigate the DNR's claims. And he says he'll ask Dayton to allow him to keep collars on the bears beyond the end of the month until an investigation is complete.
Rogers said recent technological advances -- GPS collars that allow him to closely plot the bears' movements on computers -- are producing the best research of his long career. He said new data sets should be complete in the next year or two.
"It's just not the time to be ending this," the 73-year-old man said. "There's no scientific, educational or public interest reason for what's happening."
As of July 18, Rogers had raised $26,100 on his website for a legal fund to possibly fight the DNR decision. But he said he doesn't know yet how he'll react if Dayton denies his request.