BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The number of threatened grizzly bears killed in and around Yellowstone National Park has dropped sharply as officials consider lifting protections for the animals. State and federal wildlife officials were scheduled to meet Wednesday in Bozeman to review the bear's status. The U.S. Geological Survey reports 20 grizzly bears killed or removed so far in 2014. By comparison, a record 56 grizzlies were reported killed or removed in 2012 and 29 last year. Most die following conflicts with humans. Those range from bear attacks on livestock to hunters shooting bears in self-defense.

Scientists estimate more than 750 bears inhabit the Yellowstone region of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision is pending on whether the population has recovered enough to revoke its federally-protected status.