Tribute to Ranthambore's Grand Lady of the Lakes Machili Tigress that passed away about a day ago.
Often cited as the world’s most photograph tiger, this winner of a Life Time Achievement Award was a worrier till the very end. She was 19 when she passed away a very unusual age for tigers in the wild since most of them have a life expectancy of only 10-14 years. In truth however Machali did not achieve her 19 years through natural means, park rangers usually provided her food during her last years. At around 13-14 years Machali had lost most of her canines, mostly due to fighting crocodiles and not to old age. And this along with her age did affect the normal prey items tigers usually take. Even after age 13, the Queen was never deterred, several times she was seen fighting males in order to keep her kills and even putting the younger ones in their place. It was even rumored that in her prime males feared her and would turn the other way when they came across her. She was the main draw for tourists to Ranthambore and was said to generate 10 million dollar annually.
When she was around 3-4 years old she contested her mother for her territory and after several confrontations her mother was kicked out. Machali would later go on to produce 11 cubs and successfully raise 9 of them to adulthood all the while fighting off male tigers and other animals in order to protect them. One of the first instance of a male tigers interacting with his cubs in the wild; had a group of people following Machali and her litter of two. The family took a break and soon after the male cub walked off to another location where an adult male was resting. Of course everyone was concerned, males are own to kill cubs. But Machali’s cubs however greeted the males with Machali a tigress who is often aggressive in the presence of males showing little concern. It was determined that the male must have been their father. It was also said that she regularly stole kills made from mugger crocodiles.
After a decade of ruling the lakes another rare achievement for holding territories for tigers Machali’s time has Queen was running out. For tigers blood is never thicker than water, and in an ironic twist of fate Machali was challenged by her own daughter for her kingdom just as she had challenged her mother for that same prime real estate, at 13 she lost her home. Even more ironic was that Machali would outlive her daughter that kicked her out, as her daughter had gotten in a fight with a male tiger while trying to protect her cubs. While the daughter was still alive after the confrontation she was injured and soon after disappeared. She has been missing for several years now.
Along with losing her fangs, Machali would then lose her left eye, reports vary but some say she lost it in a fight with a sub-adult male own as Sultan. Now at this time Machali would have been 17-18, and yet she still held her ground, obviously for this tigress age was nothing but a number. Machali is no more, but her legend and legacy will never die.
Sad video of her condition a few days ago.
Machali with no Canine
At 13, she still got it:
In her prime pulling a kill;
This place has a lot of photos of her younger years;
I could write more but she is such a famous cat that finding info on her would be a breeze for anyone. There are also videos all over YouTube with her and several documentaries.