Researcher Lynn Rogers not only abused his bears, but they lost their fear of humans after hand-feeding and were biting neighbors, a boy and research participants, the state Department of Natural Resources said in court papers filed Friday.
The DNR memorandum defended the department’s decision to yank Roger’s bear research permit after 14 years and order that the internationally known Rogers remove by July 31 all electronic collars from the bears he had been studying.
Rogers had sued the department earlier this week, contending the revocation is unsupported by the evidence and violates his due process rights. Rogers also asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order and reinstate the study permit.
A hearing is set for Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr halted Rogers’ research June 28 based on his lack of published peer-reviewed literature despite years of research, methodology that could hurt bears and place the public at risk, and for repeatedly violating terms of his study permit.
Rogers hit bears and admitted mistreating them, the agency said in a defendant’s memorandum.
“Any violation of the terms or conditions of a research permit is immediate revocation of the permit,” says the DNR response.
It notes that in 1998, Rogers collared a bear without the required permit. In 1999, he applied for a DNR research and education permit. Within a year, his supervisors were apprehensive about his methodology.
“By 2012, the risks to public safety associated with habituated study bears had risen beyond a level acceptable to DNR,” the court papers say.