State wildlife commissioners are set to decide Wednesday if the Florida black bear will be removed from the state's list of threatened species.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's staff advocates taking the bears off the list. The commissioners still plan to offer the bear population sufficient protection, and aim to continue the 1994 ban on hunting, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
But many environmentalists urge that the black bear should stay on the list since isolated bear populations and habitats are still vulnerable.
The most important thing, according to state biologists, is that a management plan should be approved to maintain a healthy population of black bears, unlike the estimated 300 that lived in Florida in the 1970s.
The new plan includes keeping the bear population within a healthy range, now consisting of over 3,000 living bears. The commission's staff also plan to reduce the incidents of bears breaking into yards and houses and to create corridors that would connect isolated bear populations, like those on the Gulf Coast.
The proposal follows a detailed peer review study of the health of the bear population, according to the Sun Sentinel.
The commission will take up the bear issue when it meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens.