The World’s Most Photographed Tigress Of Ranthambore, Machli Turned 20

Meet the matriarch of Ranthambore , of course "Machli" OR Machali, World's most photographed Tigress of Ranthambore National Park. She has entered the 20th year of her age and has the distinction of being the world's oldest tigress.

It was monsoon season at Ranthambore in 1997 when Machli was born. Usually the monsoon season begins in Ranthambore from last week of June and lasts till September. She is one of three litters female cubs which born to "Original Machli". Her mother was known as Machli due outline of fish mark on the right side of her face. She was named Machli after her mother by a cinematographer Colin Patrick Stafford-Johnson , Between 1999-2011, five wildlife documentary films have been made on Machli by him and Machli became the world's most famous wild tigress by his documentary. In 2002 a wildlife documentary was broadcast by BBC and then daughter also renamed Machli and since then the name has stuck. She is named Machli after a fish shaped icon on her left cheek also. Since 2007, T-16 number was given to her by the Forest Department of Ranthambore National Park.

For wildlife enthusiasts, there is no need to introduce the Machli because she is one of the iconic tigresses of Ranthambore National Park India. Literally, she has been ruling for the last two decades in the forests of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. She is often known as "Lady of the lake" and "Queen of the Jungle" because by the end of 1999 she was fully grown, fierce and strong and she pushed out her mother from the area of the lakes in Ranthambore National park and she took over her mother's region. In a few years, Machli became the most famous tigress due to her valiance and efficiently in Ranthambhore. In spite of being surrounded during jungle safari in Ranthambore she is very calm by nature. She is most camera favorable and most photographed tiger in the world. She is tourist-friendly and know to best pose for tourists and she becomes "flower of chivalry" during Ranthambore jungle safari.

Machli blessed 11 offsprings in her twenty years. In her descendants, there are 7 female and 4 male tiger. Her progeny is approximately 60% of the total population of Indian Tigers in Ranthambore and Sariska. She is also a fierce warrior and full of valor. Machli came to fame when she challenged a 14 ft long marsh crocodile and she was victorious in the battle. But in the last stages of age, she has lost her canines and blind in one eye. In order to help the prey, baits and meat leftover is given for her by the Forest department. It is believed that she has been contributing about INR 66 crore per year for the last ten years to Rajasthan tourism, where the average life expectancy of tigers is between 10 – 15 years, while Machli set a record by more surviving in wild.

In 2014, she was suddenly disappeared for 26 days .Although, in the beginning she was suspected to be dead but later it was seeked by the Forest Department in non-tourist area of Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. She made her territory in non-tourism zone although some tourists caught a glimpse of her at Mishar Darrah Gate in April 2016.

On October 19, 2012, The Story of Machli was broadcast on the BBC's Natural World. The episode was titled "Queen of Tigers: Natural World Special. Thus, due to its popularity, several documentaries and short films has been created on her life. She has also won the TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers)" Lifetime Achievement Award "And also, the government of India issued a memorial postal cover and stamp to respect the tigress for her natural and efficient contributions. Although she is outskirts from her former dominion and she has retired for peace and quiet but her legacy still remains strong. Here's to you Queen of the Forest, you will always rule our hearts.

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Thursday, 07 December 2023