A lioness was found dead in Gujarat's Gir forest on Thursday, taking the death toll of big cats to 30 since September, officials said.
The carcass of the lioness, aged between 9 and 12 years, was found at the Tulsishyam Range of the forest near the border of Amreli district, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Wildlife Circle, D T Vasavada said.
"A preliminary investigation has revealed that the feline died due to natural causes. There were no injury marks on the carcass," he told PTI.
The carcass has been sent for postmortem to ascertain the exact cause of death, Vasavada added. Prior to this, 29 lions, including cubs, have died in and around the Gir forest during the last three months due to infighting, pneumonia, Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and Protozoa infection.
As many as 23 big cats had died in Gir in a short span of three weeks in September.
Later, six lion cubs were found dead in different parts of the forest on separate occasions.
Following the outbreak of CDV infection in September, 36 lions were captured and shifted to three rescue centres as a precautionary measure.
Vasavada said all these lions were doing well after being vaccinated and that a decision to release them in the wild will be taken soon. -- PTI