Naming Lily’s cub is difficult

Naming Lily’s cub is difficult

Update February 27, 2010 - 2:30 PM CST

I can’t tell you how good it made me feel to see your overwhelming support for honoring my mother.  It made me feel like I have friends out there who share so much thought that I feel close without ever meeting you.  Your similar feelings about each other is why some of you are coming to meet at the Lilypad Picnic in Ely July 30-August 1.  I hope I have a chance to meet each one of you and put faces with names.

However, I am a neophyte at being in the spotlight like this.  I make mistakes.  I made one last night by giving a hint of my name bias.

A person who loves Lily and the cub and wrote a beautiful rationale for the name she submitted wrote:

“I am absolutely stunned at the poor judgment shown my Dr. Rogers regarding this contest and his update placed on and Lily the black bear facebook page where he clearly indicates his bias toward the name Lyla.  Ever since then the facebook fans have been swamping the contest entries with entries of Lyla.  This totally corrupts the contest if it doesn't outright break some type of law.  Anyone who had submitted Lyla prior to Dr. Rogers posting has an absolute right to be outraged at how this lessened their chance to win the contest prize.  And no, just cutting off the entry deadline to the time before Dr. Rogers' post DOES NOT restore legitimacy to the contest.  At this point, if Dr. Rogers hopes to restore his integrity, the only honorable action is to admit to his mistake, state that he did not think it thru very well before posting his remarks, remove Lyla from the naming competition, and then select the new name from the remaining entries.  I just do not understand at all how he could have been so careless.”

I can only admit my mistake, withdraw Lyla, and apologize for spoiling the contest.

Maybe it’s just as well.  I woke up during the night thinking how I’d feel if Lyla were killed by a hunter.  Currently, it’s legal for hunters to kill radio-collared bears.  Fortunately, most do not.  We’re working hard for full cooperation.

We’ve asked the DNR for years to make it illegal to shoot radio-collared bears in our small study area, but they say they don’t want to make a criminal out of a hunter who might make an honest mistake.

June with ribbonsWe feel all hunters should look twice before shooting.  We post signs where the radio-collared bears live, and the collars are decked out with long, bright ribbons. The DNR sends letters to the hunters asking them to cooperate, and the Minnesota Bear Guides Association is now putting its weight behind this effort.

Still, after losing 6 radio-collared bears since 2000, we live in fear every hunting season as you will see in the documentary ‘Bearwalker’ on Animal Planet on April 4.  We’ve gotten a law passed making it illegal to shoot a radio-collared bear accompanied by a researcher, but this puts us in the line of fire.  We doubly want hunters to look twice before shooting.

It should be easy for hunters to identify our beribboned bears during legal shooting hours (daylight) because most kills are made when bears come to baits in areas cleared for unobstructed shooting.  We’re happy to report that research bears survive hunting season at a higher rate than other bears.

Whether it’s legal or not to shoot radio-collared bears, we just want them spared.  For more on this see Impact of bear research noted, which brings tourists to Ely area.  It might be best to save the name Lyla until there is universal cooperation from hunters.

—Lynn Rogers, Biologist, North American Bear Center