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Machli’s roar still echoes: Tribute to Lady of the Lakes, Queen of Ranthambore

Her Cremation Was Attended By Not Only Field Guides And Naturalists From Ranthambore Tiger Reserve But Also Forest Officials As Well As District Officials Including The Collector Of The Area.

By : Tahir Qureshi | Updated on: 21 Aug 2017, 02:57:34 PM
Machhli was blessed with 11 cubs, including seven females and four males (Agency picture)

New Delhi:

Life is strange, life is beautiful, life is uncertain, life is unpredictable, life is a reality, reality that nibbles, and bites in equal measures. That is how the delicate balance is maintained on the planet and the metaphysical.

Machli Kitne Dilon Ki Rani

We observe the first death anniversary of Machli, the tigress, an animal, carnivorous, who devoured on her prey, and who had the temerity, skill, and prowess to fight a 14-foot-long marsh crocodile that too inside the waters of Raj Bagh lake at Ranthambore National Park. 

Machli emerged victorious as she tore the croc’s throat apart and dragged it away in shrubs — The croc had posed a very serious threat to her cubs hence this treatment from the loving, doting mother.

Machli, The Outstanding Revenue Earner

Machhli was the celebrity tigress. Reportedly, she was the world's most-photographed big cat as numerous wildlife lovers and tourists followed her and took many photographs and video footage.

Machhli played a significant role in populating the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, as she was blessed with 11 cubs, including seven females and four males.

According to some estimates, she was responsible for earning the park a huge amount of Rs 65 crores a year for a period of 10 years. That makes Rs 650 crores.

The Last Moments Of Machli

Machli was found in Ama Ghati area in a poor condition on August 13, 2016. The forest staff, which cordoned off the area, was monitoring her condition and trying to feed her, but she only consumed water and her condition did not improve. She breathed her last at 9:52 am on August 18 surrounded by a horde of her admirers and forest officials.

For many forest officials, Machli's death was an emotional moment. Often seen hunting and playing around water bodies, experts said her life was a distinct case of evolution in the behaviour of tigers, especially those in Ranthambore.

“Tiger behaviour is evolving and it was best reflected in the case of Machli. She understood the importance of humans and never showed aggression. She was the most photographed tigress ever," said RN Mehrotra, former Field Director of Ranthambore who observed Machli for seven years from 2005 to 2012.

Her cremation was attended by not only field guides and naturalists from Ranthambore Tiger Reserve but also forest officials as well as district officials including the Collector of the area.

Hemraj Meena, a naturalist and guide at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve for 22 years, who had been following Machli's life since 1997, shared that the last rites were carried out as per traditional customs. "Everyone at Ranthambore wanted her cremation to be like one we would carry out for our loved ones. For us guides and even forest department she was like a senior member of our family and hence an extremely emotional moment," he said.

An Extraordinary Tigress
An Extraordinary Tigress

Machli, the Tigress who rules millions of hearts, was given the sobriquet Lady of the Lakes by late field director Fateh Singh Rathore as she had a fish-like design on her face. She had other monikers, T-16, Queen Mother, Queen of Ranthambore, and Crocodile Killer.

Machli was a Bengal tigress who ruled the Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan.

Machli has a postage stamp and many short films and documentaries to her credit. She found a place on Facebook with several pages dedicated to her. She was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) in 2009.

In 2013, the Indian government issued a commemorative postal cover and stamp to honour Machli.

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First Published : 21 Aug 2017, 02:50:35 PM