NEW DELHI: Machali, India’s oldest surviving tigress and know for her hunting skills and strength died at the age of 19 in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, which was her home for nearly two decades.
Having attained several titles during her life like ‘Queen of Ranthambore’, ‘Lady of the Lakes’ and ‘Crocodile Killer’, Machali was not keeping well and was refusing food and water for some time. She was reported dead around 9.50 am on the fringe of the park.
Being the star attraction of Ranthambore, Machali became world famous for her encounter with 14-ft-long mugger crocodile. She lost a couple of teeth and was given meat by forest officials. Many documentaries were made on her and she even has a Facebook page that has been liked by 4239 people.
Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement Award" due to her contribution to conservation and tourist attraction, Indian government in 2013 had issued a commemorative postal cover and stamp to honour Machli for her ecological and economical contributions.
According to wildlife experts, tigers don’t survive beyond 11-15 years of age and Machali has surpassed well beyond that. She had a royal taste when choosing her territory and it was always around the lakes.
She got her name from the fish shaped marks on left part of her face and went on have 11 cubs over the years whose offspring make up almost half the park's tiger population.
“She produced many off springs and has immensely contribution to the gene pool of the tiger population in the central Indian landscape. It was her gene and strength that made her live for 19 years as no tigress in the world her lives so much,” said Yadav.