Ely bear researcher Lynn Rogers goes to court on Monday in Ramsey County to ask a judge to allow him to keep GPS collars on 10 study bears.
Last month the Department of Natural Resources opted not to renew Rogers' research permit that allows him to place GPS collars on 10 bears and Internet cameras in bear dens. That decision gave Rogers until July 31 to remove the collars.
DNR spokesman Chris Niskanen said that Rogers has not published peer-reviewed research and that his practice of hand feeding bears to gain their trust has habituated more than 50 bears near Ely to humans.
"Many citizens in that Eagles Nest area have told the DNR that they've suffered damage from these bears, that are emboldened to come seek out people for food and that they don't feel safe around them," Niskanen said.
Rogers, however, said removing the collars would jeopardize his research and the bears.
"Once the collars are off, we couldn't find the bears again," Rogers said. "They'd be killed during hunting season; they will go to hunters' baits just the same as any other bear. And the years of data that we've got built up in these bears would be gone."
Rogers added that no collared bear in the region has ever attacked anyone.
Gov. Mark Dayton told Rogers last week he could seek an administrative review of the DNR's decision. But Niskanen said Rogers declined that option.
Rogers is asking for a temporary restraining order to allow his research to continue.