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Jungle queen gets her due (Oct)

Mail Today, New Delhi, 1st October, 2013

Some called her the Queen Mother of the tiger dynasty of Ranthambhore; others, the world's oldest documented tiger alive. It was her rarity that prompted the Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) to bestow the honor of a Life time achievement  award' upon Machhli.

She perhaps deserved more than quiet late night ceremony that was organised recently in a jaipur's 5-Star hotel when chief minister Ashok Geholt issued a commemorative Postal Cover on September 18. It was said that in a few months a postal stamp will also be released. There are few tigers that survive up to the age of 10 to 12 in the wild, pointed out RN Mehrotra, Rajasthan's retired principal chief conservator, who virtually saw Machhli, once the reigning carnivore in the Ranthambhore National Park, grow. However, in captivity they live up to 20 to 25 years if well fed in zoos and under good veterinary care. vary few tigers in the wild have been found to possess a robust and clever gene that keeps them fit even after 15 years of age, opine experts.

But Machhli, coded as T16, is making a record of sorts. She is 17 and is still occupying the core area of the National Park, Mehrotra pointed out.

She has mothered 9 cubs including 4 male and 5 females so far. of them, six including her daughter T1 and T18 who were shifted to Sariska in 2008-09 (recorded  ST2 and ST3) to revive the extinct tiger population, are still alive, pointed out Dhirendra Godha, member of the state wildlife board. Significantly before her third litter she had already lost her canines.