California man facing criminal charges for protected mountain lion killing
(NEW YORK) -- A California man is facing criminal charges for the killing of a protected mountain lion.
Alfredo Gonzalez, 60, is accused of fatally shooting a collared mountain lion, known as P-38, back in July. The animal was found dead in the Simi Valley area with a gunshot wound to the head and its GPS-enabled radio collar vandalized, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.
P-38 was part of a cougar population being studied by National Park Service biologists, the district attorney's office said. First collared in 2015, the 7-year-old male mountain lion predominately roamed parts of the Santa Susana Mountains, which surround Simi Valley in Southern California.
The biologists detected a mortality signal from the animal's collar on July 2, according to the district attorney's office.
The National Park Service did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Wednesday morning.
It's unlawful to kill a mountain lion in the state without a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The complaint filed by the Ventura County District Attorney's Office charges Gonzalez with two misdemeanor counts -- one for the unlawful taking of a protected mammal and another for vandalism of National Park Service property, the collar, valued at $950.
Gonzalez, a Simi Valley resident, will be arraigned in Ventura Superior Court on Oct. 9.
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