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California man charged with shooting protected mountain lion

Posted: 3:45 AM, Sep 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-11 06:45:37-04

A Simi Valley man was charged with shooting and killing a protected mountain lion that roamed the mountains northwest of Los Angeles and was wearing a GPS tracking collar.

Alfredo Gonzalez, 60, was charged with two misdemeanors for allegedly shooting the male cougar, known as P-38, and vandalizing its collar, the Ventura County district attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

It is illegal to shoot a mountain lion without a state permit.

Prosecutors believe that Gonzalez shot the animal in the head in Simi Valley, possibly on July 2, when National Park Service researchers received a “mortality signal” from the collar, the agency said.

Prosecutors have not released a possible motive for the shooting.

P-38 was born in 2012 and was known to roam the Santa Susana Mountains. He was believed to have fathered four litters of cubs.

The mountain lion was part of a population that park service biologists have been studying for more than a decade.

If convicted, Gonzalez could be sentenced to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. He also might have to pay $2,300 in restitution for vandalizing the collar, the district attorney’s office said.

It was not immediately clear whether Gonzalez had an attorney.