SPRINGFIELD -- An environmental group says Illinois lawmakers have passed a "common-sense" plan to protect three more animal species slowly returning to the state.
The Senate voted unanimously on Friday to add black bears, gray wolves and mountain lions to the protected species list in the state. But the legislation warns that the animals could be killed if they threatened a landowners' property or livestock.
Natural Resources Defense Council officials say the measure presents a smarter plan for dealing with these animals because residents can currently kill them with no questions asked.
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 legislation goes to Gov. Pat Quinn.