Legendary tigress Machhli, who was the world’s oldest tigress in the wild, died in Ranthambhore National Park in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan on Thursday after a prolonged illness, during which she had stopped eating for the last five days. She was 19-years-old, while the average age of a tiger is 14 to 15 years.
Also referred to as T-16, the tigress was named Machhli because of marks on her face which resembled a fish. The celebrity tigress was also the world’s most photographed wild cat and had a postage stamp and several documentary films on her name. Wildlife lovers used to track her movements through several Facebook pages dedicated to her.
Machhli played a significant role in populating the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, as she was blessed with 11 tiger cubs, including seven females and four males. According to some estimates, she was contributing Rs.65 crore a year as tourism revenue to the National Park for the last 10 years.
The tigress was found on the fringe of the park in Ama Ghati area, adjacent to a luxury resort, in an indisposed condition five days ago. The forest staff, which cordoned off the area, was monitoring her condition and trying to feed her, but her condition did not improve. She breathed her last at 9:52 a.m. on Thursday.
Machhli had lost all her canines during her fight with a crocodile a few years ago. She was given baits to ensure her survival and a dedicated team of forest guards used to keep track of her movements.