Even experts with long experience get confused about the direction of telemetry signals sometimes. Today, the search for Faith in her remote area was futile. Signal bounce made it hard for the research associates to pin down her direction. Then a wrong turn at a beaver pond took them places they never imagined they would go. Telemetry has a learning curve. They will try again. Meanwhile, others located Jewel and changed her GPS batteries.
We heard from the governor’s office this afternoon. A meeting won’t be possible this coming week, but they hope to squeeze us in soon. The governor is recovering from an injury and has had to cancel some appointments. We’re hoping and praying for fairness and an investigation into the allegations the DNR has made public—allegations that discredit us as scientists. Given the public accusations, we can’t back down. But the strong statements the DNR is making about us makes it hard for them to back down, too. We believe Governor Mark Dayton will be fair despite his strong loyalty to his commissioner. We’re trying to think of ways both sides can come to agreement.
What a disconnect we are hearing between the DNR statements about public safety and what local residents are telling us about a lack of bear problems.
Some of the DNR statements that sound current are not. One DNR official said things are so bad in this community that a woman’s daughter wouldn’t bring her grandchildren to see her because of the bears. That statement was made in 2007 when Solo and her cubs hibernated under the woman’s vacant summer cottage. The DNR is using a 2008 video of a hunter teasing a cub as an example of our research. The DNR is using an incident in which we misidentified a captive-raised yearling and mistakenly put a radio-collar on it as another example of our research. Another allegation uses a misdated picture as evidence of a permit violation. The activity was not a violation on the date the picture was actually taken.
At Lynn’s age of 74, he doesn’t want to waste a moment defending against spurious accusations. He just wants to focus on research, publishing, and educating. On the other hand, he MUST defend against the DNR’s accusations. The DNR has publicly defamed us, discredited our research, and is shutting us down using unfounded allegations. We can’t back down and let the DNR hurt the credibility of the Bear Center, our writings, and anything we attempt in the future. We have no choice but to fight this thing to the end no matter what it takes. Your support is critical, as you know.
Thank you for all you do.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center
All photos taken today unless otherwise noted.
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA