Nature Matters: Living With a Bear

By KBJR News 1

May 30, 2011 Updated May 31, 2011 at 10:44 AM CDT

Near Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Dr. Lynn Rogers tracks research bears all across their home range near Ely. Some spend their time far off the beaten path. Others, quietly keep to themselves much closer to human neighbors. In this week's Nature Matters David Hoole finds some people and bears sharing their territory.

"I don't think I'd be in danger really. They don't seem to harm you if you don't go after them."

Mr. Hoppa often walks along the outskirts of Tower, he rarely sees bears in the area. Bear researcher Dr. Lynn Rogers stays up to date on the bears in his study and knows of one that spends a lot of time close to town.

"I remember seeing her 93 yards from houses, feeding on vegetation in the power line."

Just because the bear is close doesn't mean she is easy to get to. Thick brush conceals the bear until it's sure of its safety. It's only due to the trusting relationship Rogers has developed with the study bears that he's able to get this close to the animals.

"Good bear it's me bear."

Jo the bear gets a handful of nuts while batteries are changed in her GPS transmitter, the device allows researchers to track study bears moment to moment. Rogers knows just how Jo lost the patch of fur on her side.

"That spot on her side is from getting into a den that was too small and she needed to wiggle her way out taking a patch of fur off."

He also has news from a medical report on Jason, Lily the bear's cub who died in April. Rogers believes a coyote pulled the cub from a tree by its leg and bit it on the head.

"He would be screaming in pain from that Lily would come running back just in time to save him from the bite to the head which was just minimal but enough to puncture that thin little skull. So he died from a brain infection from that, four days later."

Fresh batteries loaded in Jo's collar, Rogers gives the bear one more handful of nuts. And thanks her for the data she will provide. "Thank you bear see you later".
From the bear woods near Ely, I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

Most northland bears including Lily, Hope and the remaining cub Faith, are now eagerly browsing the spring greens in the woods. You can follow the daily updates from the North American Bear Center's website