Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The judge has ruled that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had cause to not renew the permits for Ely bear researcher Dr. Lynn Rogers.
Chief Administrative Law Judge Tammy Pust has issued her final Recommendation following hearings in February and March of this year. The judge says Dr. Rogers should not be restricted from approaching and following wild unhabituated bears.
However, the judge says Dr. Rogers cannot collar or intentionally handle bears, nor visit bear dens as both activities are prohibited without a permit granted by the DNR.
The ruling indicates Dr. Rogers can continue to offer existing den cam footage to schools and for other educational purposes.
Judge Pust recommends Dr. Rogers be allowed to continue to study bears in Minnesota, and run Bear Field Study courses at the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) in Minnesota, to include feeding the already habituated bears at WRI in order to record their weight.
She goes further to say in the meantime, the researcher can walk with the already habituated bears, rest with them, talk to them all the while observing them. Dr. Rogers conducted permitted research for 14 years prior to the DNR's permit revocation in 2013.
The Minnesota DNR says the judge's ruling is a recommendation not an order and under Minnesota law, the DNR has the final decision on research permits.
"I do know that the DNR must listen to the recommendations. Because everybody would say; 'and they went against the recommendation of the judge.' It would be embarrassing for them," Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute said in a Feb, 27 interview.