SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers have approved a proposal that would add three animals to the list of protected species in Illinois.
The Senate on Monday passed a measure to include black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions on a 47-0 vote.
State Sen. Linda Holmes is sponsoring the legislation. The Democrat from Aurora says it would protect these species and the farmers who could be affected as these animals return to their natural habitat in Illinois.
The bill warns that the animals could be killed if they threatened a landowners' property or livestock.
Researchers at Southern Illinois University say about seven gray wolves, four mountain lions and two black bears have been spotted in the state since 2000.
The measure moves to the House for further consideration.