Her name is Machli and she roams freely and majestically inside the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.
In fact, Machli has been ruling Ranthambore for the last two decades; she celebrated her 19th birthday early this year. So that makes Machli the world’s oldest tigress!
In case you didn’t know, most tigers die by age 15, so Machli has indeed outlived her species.
Thanks to her longevity, Machli – or codename T-16 – has also the distinction of being the most photographed tiger in the world.
In fact, tourists and wildlife enthusiasts flock to Ranthambore to catch a glimpse of the famed tigress.
The great tigress was named Machli because of a fish-like mark on the left side of her face.
Officials say that the tigress is the mother of over 50 per cent of all the tigers and tigresses in the park. Unlike other tigresses, Machli had five litters producing 11 offspring.
In 2014, her disappearance created a sensation and made it to the headlines. Many feared she had either died or had been killed. Some reportedly wrote obituaries on her.
But Machli surfaced 26 days later in a different part of the park leading officials to speculate that younger tigers had pushed her from her territory.
The area in which Machli lives is a non-tourist zone. Yet many tourists have been able to catch a glimpse of her, and she still looks majestic.
In fact, Machli has been a real draw. According to a report
, it is her presence that has helped Ranthambore National Park make approximately Rs.65 crore per annum for the last 10 years.
Sometime ago, the tigress had a fierce encounter with a 14-foot-long crocodile. The big, muscular Machli won but lost her teeth in the process.
This took away from her the power of killing yet she continues to survive by adapting.
According to another report
, park officials devotedly feed her using baits. But being a tigress, Machli often gets a kill.
Anurag Sharma, a wildlife enthusiast, told India Today
that Machli now kills smaller animals by using her body weight to break their backbones. The other way is by snatching food from leopards. Often her own children bring food to her. Of course, there are many legends surrounding her. Everyone hopes she will live past age 25 and break the record held by Chatty Flavio, the world’s oldest tiger who died on January 5, 2014 in Tampa, Florida, United States.