Curious Black Bears Cause Problems

By KBJR News 1

August 21, 2013 Updated Aug 21, 2013 at 6:15 PM CDT

Ely, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Bear researcher Lynn Rogers stands by his work and believes that black bears are not as serious a threat to humans as some may think.

However, neighbors of Rogers' wildlife research institute say there's another side to the story and they believe his research is causing more harm than good.

Elizabeth and Andrew Urban, who live near Rogers' research institute, say they have a major problem with the black bears that Dr. Roger's collars.

"He's told us not to have picnics on our deck... not to have our grandchildren or our nieces and nephews outside or down by the lake with food... and we just don't feel that that's the way to live," said Elizabeth.

The Urbans have lived in other areas, in which black bears have come onto their property, but say those bears left when chased away.

"The bears that seem to scare away the easiest were the un-collared bears," said Andrew.

They say Rogers' research habituates bears to people causing those bears to become unafraid of human interaction.

"The bears that were collared seem to exhibit a different type of behavior," said Andrew.

When they've tried to chase the collared black bears from their deck, they say the bruins are not frightened, but instead become more curious and move closer.

"Every year we see bears right here in our yard on our deck, and they go right down the people's property," said Elizabeth.

Although the Urbans see habituating bears as a serious problem, Lynn Rogers stands by his research.

"The research today is the best I've ever done in my whole career... 'cause not only are we using the old methods, we're coupling those with modern technology, GPS particularly," said Rogers.

The families say they want Rogers to respect their concerns so that they are able to live life without fear.

The Urbans say there are many children and elderly families living near the wildlife research institute.

They say those people have come together to discuss the issue and all feel that the bears in Dr. Roger's study are an extreme nuisance.

Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com