California man charged with shooting protected mountain lion
VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — 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.