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  October 14, 2002

Expert on Black Bears to Give Slide Talk

A zoologist who has spent 35 years in the forests of northern Minnesota researching the ways of the black bear will give a slide presentation about his work on Sunday, October 27, at 7 pm, in the Torrey Life Sciences Building, Room 154. A $5 donation is requested, payable at the door.

Coming to Campus
Image: Lynn Rogers and black bear
Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute will speak about his research on black bears on October 27.

Photo by Donna Glass

Lynn Rogers of the Wildlife Research Institute will talk on "The Bear Facts: Unlocking the Mystery of the American Black Bear."

Rogers has conducted research on wild bears since 1971. He developed research methods for gaining the trust of bears and redefined scientific understanding of this misunderstood animal.

"It took many years for me to overcome the brain-washing I grew up with about bears," says Rogers. "Finally, I began to interpret their body language and vocalizations in terms of their fears rather than my fears, and I found that I could build trusting relationships with these intelligent wild animals."

Using radio collars and infrared cameras to track the bears and record their activities, he discovered how mothers care for newborn cubs inside winter dens when temperatures are far below zero and demonstrated that black bears maintain a matriarchal society in which the females bequeath parts of their territory to their female offspring.

He began living with bears in the mid-1980s, hoping to see how bears and people could live in close proximity, since people were coming into more frequent contact with bears through activities like hiking and camping, and because increasingly homes were being built in bear territories.

With more frequent encounters between humans and bears, occasionally people have been attacked. Through his research, however, Rogers learned that their fearsome behavior, such as chomping their teeth, flattening their ears, huffing, blowing, and lunging or charging, is most often a bluff, intended to scare the intruder away.

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