WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -

Wildlife officials are taking up a vote on whether to remove the Florida black bear from the state's threatened species list.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is considering the change to the decades-old protections for the bears at their meeting in Palm Beach Gardens on Wednesday.

Florida black bears were once found throughout the state, but their population was decimated by hunting and development. The threatened species protection has been credited with their rebounding population, with around 3,000 bears now believed to be alive. But some wildlife advocates think taking away their protected status is a mistake.

The measure up for a vote would not allow the bears to be hunted.