A California man was charged this week with fatally shooting a protected mountain lion in the head, prosecutors announced.
Alfredo Gonzalez, 60, of Simi Valley, was charged Tuesday in connection to the July slaying of the mammal, known as P-38, Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced in a news release.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife received a July 10 report from the National Park Service that the collared mountain lion may have been killed in Simi Valley after a mortality signal was detected eight days earlier, prosecutors said.
Authorities ultimately determined that P-38, a male mountain lion born in 2012, died of a gunshot wound to the head. The big cat roamed portions of the Santa Susana Mountains.
Gonzalez was charged with the killing of a protected mammal and for the vandalism to its GPS-enabled collar, which biologists have used to study mountain lions for more than a decade, prosecutors said. He will be arraigned on Oct. 9.
The animal was believed to have fathered three kittens with another mountain lion, P-39, KTLA reported. Their kittens, given the names P-50, P-51 and P-52, were found in the eastern Santa Susana Mountains in July 2016, according to the report.
It is unlawful to kill a mountain lion without a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.