As WRI's principal biologist, Lynn Rogers, Ph.D., has spent nearly 50 years learning about wildlife and sharing his information with the public. Using airplanes, vehicles, and snowshoes, he has radio-tracked over 100 bears in the vast forests of northeastern Minnesota, studying some for as long as 22 years.
Rogers began studying bears in his home state of Michigan in 1967, moving black bears away from campgrounds and residential areas for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In fall 1969, he moved to northeastern Minnesota and began a broad, ecological study of black bears as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota. The project was conceived and funded by Wallace and Mary Lee Dayton and the Minneapolis Big Game Club. Scores of volunteers and students helped make the project a success. By 1975, Rogers' bear study was ranked one of the four top studies of large mammals in the world, along with studies by Jane Goodall, Brian Bertram, and Ian Hamilton. Professor E. O. Wilson of Harvard University wrote, "A new level of resolution has been attained, in which free-ranging individuals are tracked from birth through socialization, parturition, and death, and their idiosyncrasies, personal alliances, and ecological relationships recorded in clinical detail."
The study became even more detailed in the next two decades. Rogers formed trusting relationships with wild black bears, including mothers with cubs, and spent 24-hour periods walking and resting with these intelligent animals, detailing their activities, diet, ecology, social organization, vocalizations, and more, providing much of the scientific information on black bear behavior available today. Discoveries continue as Rogers and his research assistants develop new research techniques focusing on how we can better coexist with black bears in their increasingly urbanized environment. Rogers works tirelessly to educate the public and decision-makers about bears. As part of that effort, he and his wife Donna Marie founded the North American Bear Center featuring many excellent photos they took together.
Rogers has written over a hundred scientific articles on black bear behavior and ecology and has served as senior author on more peer-reviewed scientific articles on bears than anyone in the world. He has created several museum exhibits and has edited many scientific articles, books, and TV scripts. In Minnesota, Rogers worked with the legislature and the Department of Natural Resources to improve bear management.
Worldwide, the media carries his information to over a hundred million people each year. Over a half million people visit the North American Bear Center's educational web site www.bear.org. The most recent documentary about his work "The Man Who Walks With Bears" aired over 70 times on Animal Planet TV channel since 2001. A BBC/Animal Planet documentary will be released in fall 2009.
As people learn more about black bears, they become more tolerant. Today, people are allowing black bears to repopulate parts of America where bears have not lived for over a century.
Regarded by many as the Jane Goodall of black bears, Rogers has a Ph.D. in Ecology and Behavioral Biology from the University of Minnesota. Rewards include the Quality Research Award from the U. S. Forest Service and the Anna M. Jackson Award from the American Society of Mammalogists
Name: Lynn Leroy Rogers
Born: 4/9/39, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Marital status: Married to Donna since 6/9/79.
Ph.D., 1977, University of Minnesota, Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology
Master of Science, 1970, University of Minnesota, Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology (Statistics minor)
Bachelor of Science (high honor)., 1968, Michigan State University, Department of Wildlife.
Associate of Science, 1959, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Junior College, Department of Biological Sciences.
High School Diploma, 1957, Creston High School (Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Research and Education Positions:
1971-present. Wildlife Research Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute Field Station, Ely, Minnesota. .
1976-1993 (retired). Wildlife Research Biologist, USDA, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station,
1991-1993, Adjunct Professor, Univ. of Wisconsin.
1968-1977. Research Assistant, Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota
1967-1968. Research Aide, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
1974, American Society of Mammalogists, Anna M. Jackson Award.
1988, U.S. Forest Service, Quality Research Award.
1993, Minnesota Center for the Book, Outstanding Writer.
1996, Minnesota Wilderness and Parks Coalition, Minnesota Award.
2000, Stone Arch Festival of the Arts, Best of Art Category (Photography)
Professional Societies and Activities:
American Society of Mammalogists
International Wolf Center, Advisory Board
IUCN Species Survival Commission., Bear Specialist Group
International Bear Association
North American Bear Center (Ely, MN), Director
The Wildlife Society
American Men and Women of Science
Current Biography, 1994
>100 scientific & popular publications
Additional Accomplishments: 1976 - 1993 USFS Research Scientist (PDF file)
Other web sites: