Bear researcher's future in hands of court and DNR

By KBJR News 1

Bear researcher's future in hands of court and DNR

February 27, 2014 Updated Feb 27, 2014 at 10:32 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The controversial methods of Ely bear researcher Dr. Lynn Rogers are on trial this week in the "Bear Case" in St. Paul.

The court case concerns the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources special permit issued to Rogers in December 2012.

The issue involves Roger's dispute with the DNR over his controversial methods of studying black bear behavior.

Chris Niskanen is representing the DNR in this case. Last year the DNR reduced the number of bears Rogers was permitted to collar and took away his permit to install cameras in bear dens.

Following the hearing, Chief Judge Tammy Pust will issue a recommendation order. The judge's report will be provided to the DNR, and the parties will be allowed to submit comments.

The DNR has the legal authority to issue the final decision in the matter. If the DNR does not issue an order, the judge's recommended order will become the final order.

"I do know that the DNR must listen to the recommendations. Cuz 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.

Rogers says if the DNR wins this court case it will essentially end his research. Collars would be removed from the research bears and Rogers believes the bears would be killed by hunters or the DNR.

Experts say the DNR part of the trial could last more than a week, and Rogers says they are flying witnesses in from across the country. After that Lynn Rogers will present his side of the case.

Ramona Marozas