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Reader's view: Ending Rogers’ bear research is a tragedy

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“A scientific tragedy” was what Jane Goodall called it if Lynn Rogers’ world-respected study of black bears was shut down. A global tragedy now has happened (“Rogers stops radio-collaring bears for research,” July 2). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources relentlessly worked to end the research.

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Science and education — the sign of progress and the fundamental right that every human being has — has been severely damaged.

On June 29 Rogers removed the collars on the study bears. He did this to allow their neck hair to regrow and to give them a chance to survive during the upcoming hunting season.

The DNR demanded in 2013 the radio frequencies and GPS positions of the bears. Three research bears were deliberately shot during last hunting season. Two died and a third was left with a dangling leg.

The public-safety claims by the DNR were a smokescreen, hiding years of animosity, jealousy and perhaps a desire to eliminate the pioneering work via the Wildlife Research Institute’s den cameras.

This research was harassed, bullied and abused on so many levels. Those who had the power and political responsibility to stop it and did nothing, as well as those who had the means to condemn what was happening and silenced the truth and looked the other way, are as guilty and complicit as those who executed this despicable vendetta.

Rogers and Sue Mansfield made a difficult decision to remove the collars. It was a huge sacrifice made for the love of their research bears. Fate will have the last word now. These research bears no longer will be the scapegoats of intolerance, jealousy and revenge.

I profoundly respect and admire Rogers and Mansfield. They’ve proven with their actions all along and with this ultimate act of love their moral integrity. Time will recognize the enormous contribution to science and education this research provided.

Olatz Azcona Munárriz

Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

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