Soudan Residents Have Power to Slow Black Bear Research

By KBJR News 1

November 29, 2011 Updated Nov 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM CDT

ELY, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Lily the Bear made international headlines over a year ago when she gave birth live on a web-cam to a cub named Hope.

Biologist, Dr. Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute in Ely hopes to learn more about hibernating bears with a second den–cam. But that research may not continue.

The 6 months when a bear hibernates in its den is the period researchers know the least about.

Eight-year-old Juliete, is expected to give birth to 3 more cubs in January but research may come to a standstill unless land owners near Soudan give researchers the okay to install a web-cam in a den on their property.

"Once it's in there, the world can learn about this 6 months of life, become interested in bears and want to learn more," Dr. Rogers said.

For nearly 3 years, about 70 people around the world have been recording the activities of, now famous Lily the bear, via a den cam that monitors her every move.

"This is going to be tens of thousands of data entries," Dr. Rogers said.

If the land owners don't allow the second web cam to be installed, Dr. Rogers is concerned a great research opportunity will be missed.

"She's a more experienced mother," Dr. Rogers said. "We wonder how she will respond and how she will go about taking care of the cubs."

"Its all about understanding each other, understanding the bears and finding ways to protect bears worldwide."

Dr. Rogers says he plans to work with Verizon Wireless again this year to broadcast the den cams internationally. Bringing awareness that may aid in further research and bring tourists to the town at the end of the road.

"For the town it's a huge help," Dan Waters,Owner of Canadian Waters, a shop in Ely said. "And anything that helps the town helps all the businesses in the town."

Dr. Rogers says if the landowners allow a den cam on their property, it will be removed when the mother and her cubs leave the den in April.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch