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California: Top Official Poses with Dead Mountain Lion

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) – A photograph of the California Fish and Wildlife Commission president smiling and holding up a dead mountain lion that he shot has ignited controversy in the state, where hunting the creatures has been illegal since 1990.

Dan Richards, however, shot the animal in Idaho, where hunting the cats is legal.

Richards isn’t supposed to bring it back to California, though, and it was unclear if he had.

California’s Prop. 117, which banned the hunting of mountain lions, also made it illegal for residents to bring dead mountain lions into the state.

“Californians sort of trust the Fish and Game Department and their commission to be the protectors of our wildlife resources, and this person is showing that he really doesn’t care,” Tim Dunbar, executive of the Mountain Lion Foundation, told ABC News affiliate KABC.

One state legislator is even calling for Richards to be ousted.

“He’s thumbing his nose at California law,” Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, told the San Jose Mercury News. “He’s mocking it. Frankly, I think he should face the music and step down. He’s done something that’s a disgrace to his position and to responsible hunters in California.”

Richards did not respond to ABC News’ request for an interview.

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