SEONI: A 13-year-old tigress, popularly known as "Collarwali" from Madhya Pradesh's Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR), has given birth to four cubs, making her the mother of 29 cubs born in different litters in the last ten years, which forest officials feel could be a rare record.
Tourists Sunday spotted the Royal Bengal tigress 'T-15' with four cubs in the PTR, field director Vikram Singh Parihar told PTI Sunday confirming the births.
The tigress hit headlines in April 2017 for expanding her litters by giving birth to four cubs. Responding to a query on whether 'Collarwali' has now become the first such tigress in the world to have given birth to so many cubs in its life-span, Parihar said he has not come across such a feline, and that he is checking it out.
Talking about the latest births, Parihar said this was the eighth litter of the "Collarwali". "(Earlier) It had given births to 25 cubs in seven different litters," Parihar said, adding that the tigress is a prolific breeder and a cub-raiser. He said 21 of 25 cubs of the tigress born earlier, are currently wandering in the reserve.
"The tigress is very beautiful, no doubt about it. Its eyes and walk sway all. At the (current) age of 14, this big cat has given birth, which itself is the most pleasant surprise," the field director said.
He said the average life span of a tiger is 14-15 years.
"'Collarwali' looks young, and going by her beauty and robust health, she might create another record hopefully by living beyond 20 years. Look at the feline, it seems that she might survive 22 years," the forester said.
The tigress was born in September 2005, he said citing official data. The big cat brings in huge revenue for the PTR as hundreds of tourists drawn from different parts of India, besides foreigners, turn up to catch a glimpse of the majestic beast.
"Department of Post had issued a special cover envelope of 'Collarwali' on World Sparrow Day on March 20, 2015. Besides, New Zealand and Canada too issued personalised stamps on the tigress in that year," a forest official said.
According to wildlife activist Sanjay Tiwari, 'Collarwali' was born to tiger T-1, also known as 'Charger', and tigress 'Badimata'. Remarkably, the big cat had successfully reared her five cubs in 2010, he added.
As per the last tiger count in 2014, the population of the striped animals in the PTR, spread over 1169 sq kms in Seoni and Chhindwara districts, stood between 35 and 49.
'Collarwali' is as famous as feline 'Machhli' of Ranthambore in Rajasthan, who died in August 2016, Tiwari said, adding that 'Machhli', who was born in 1996, was considered the world's oldest big cat. The feline, who lived for 20 years, had given birth to 11 cubs.