Death of famous Collarwali Tiger on Banbibi Day

News Desk: T15 or Collarwali, the legendary tigress of Madhya Pradesh’s Pench Tiger Reserve in Chhindwara district who earned the title of “super mom” after giving birth to 29 cubs, died after prolonged illness, officials said on Sunday.

The tigress was 16. Also known as Mataram, she had given birth to 29 cubs in eight litters during 11 years – between 2008 and 2018 – the officials said, adding that 25 of the 29 cubs survived.

“The tiger was ill due to old age. She was last spotted near Bhura Dev Nullah on January 14. She was spotted lying down. She was under the observation of veterinary doctors and was unable to walk. She passed away at 6.15 pm on Saturday,” Alok Mishra, field director, Pench Tiger Reserve, said.

“The exact cause of the death will be known after a post mortem but prima facie it appears to be due to multi-organ failure caused by old-age,” he added.

As a female cub, the tigress was radio-collared in March 2008. While the radio collar stopped functioning later, she was again radio-collared in January 2010. This is how she got her name Collarwali, Alok Kumar, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife), said.

“The Collarwali was the most popular tigress among tourists. She was born to T 7, popularly known as Badimada and T 1, known as Charger in 2005. In 2008, a team of experts from Dehradun fitted a radio collar on her,” he said.

In May 2008, Collarwali gave birth to three cubs but they could not survive.

“In October 2010, she delivered five cubs at a time which increased her popularity among wildlife lovers,” Kumar said.

“She lived in the wild for more than 16 years which is also a record. Her legacy is not limited to Pench as her female cub was shifted to Panna Tiger Reserve who gave birth to five cubs and contributed a lot in the success of the relocation project of tigers in Panna Tiger Reserve,” Aniruddha Majumder, a scientist at state forest research institute, Jabalpur, said.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan paid tribute to the tigress.

“Tribute to the ‘Super Tigress Mom’ Collarwali of @PenchMP, the pride of Madhya Pradesh and mother to 29 cubs, who played an important role in achieving the Tiger State status for MP. The forests of Madhya Pradesh will always resonate with the roar of the cubs of the ‘Queen’ of Pench Tiger Reserve,” Chouhan said in a tweet.