Biologists put a radio collar on a mountain lion caught near Murrieta a year ago.
A female lion mountain with cubs died of what are believed to be gunshot wounds early last week in the Del Luz area of north Fallbrook, according to the North County Times.
The animal’s death makes her the fourth animal in a Southern California mountain lion study to die unnaturally in the past three months, the paper reported.
The mountain lion’s body was recovered Thursday evening on a brushy slope above avocado groves by California game wardens and researchers. It was there where they discovered the tracks of her supposed 3-month-old cubs, said game warden Kyle Chang.
It is a misdemeanor to illegally kill a mountain lion -- punishable by up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.