Thursday, August 18, 2016

Machli, Queen of Rathambore, Dies

credit: Sandhip Sharma
India's most famous tigress, Machli, died at the age of 19 report Indian officials.  Machli was the icon of Rathambore National Park, attracting thousands of tourists every year.  She was famous for her strength; her struggle to the death with a 14 foot crocodile was caught on video.  As a dominant female she engaged in many ferocious tiger battles.  She apparently died of starvation after she stopped eating for several days.  Her body was found on the Park's border in northern Rajasthan State.  Tiger conservationists tried to assist her, but her death was deemed natural due to her advanced age.  She had slowed down in recent years and had lost most of her teeth.  Machli's death is headline news in India where her many admirers have taken to social media to express their sadness at her passing.

World tiger day last month celebrated some good news.  India's tiger population, half the world's remaining tigers, increased by 30%.  Machli contributed to that population increase in her advanced age, birthing nine cubs at age 17.  More than half of the tigers in Rathambore and Sariska Tiger Reserve are thought to be of her lineage.  Two of her cubs were airlifted to Sariska in 2008 to repopulate the reserve.  Machli was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the local economy which benefited from a $10 million per year increase in tourist revenue for ten years.  She also received her own postal cover issued in September 2013.  Goodbye, great tiger, peerless in fight who burned so bright!