Around MN: Aggressive bears reported near Ely

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A research bear examines a SUV at Bear Head Lake State Park. (Photo/MN DNR)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is urging people to be careful after recent reports of aggressive behavior by black bears in the Ely area (MPR News).

The DNR’s warning includes the collared bear in the photo above, “associated with independent bear researcher Lynn Rogers” reports the Duluth News Tribune.

But Rogers said this is the latest effort by some DNR officials to sabotage his work, and he downplayed any danger. The bear who put its paws on the SUV is one called June, Rogers said, a 10-year old sow and one of the “longest running data sets in our study.”

June also is the mother of Lily, the mother bear made famous over the past two years because of a camera placed in her den that transmitted video worldwide on the Internet.

“June putting her paws on that vehicle is a non-event. She wouldn’t hurt anyone,” Rogers said. “They get complaints all the time, from all over the state, of bears who supposedly show no fear of people. But they only seem to take action when it’s around here.”

Rogers is conducting research on ways to draw bears away from population centers. One method includes feeding bears.

While the DNR is warning the public about aggressive bears, the agency has also released a statement asking hunters not to shoot collared bears this hunting season.

This post has been updated with additional reporting.

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