Machli, the Legend who ruled the Lakes; now rules our hearts

As Machli breathed her last on the morning of 18th Aug, she enacted even the last act of her iconic life with elan.

The air carried a whiff of satisfaction, of a life well lived, to the hilt.

For life was a battle of brains and brawn for her, riddled with feats of bravery.

She was the matriarch of Ranthambore, the ever-loved Machli, the tigress, the legend.

Machli Ranthambore Tigress

Picture Credit: Desh Bandhu, Machli Resort, Ranthambore

Fearless and photogenic. Darling damsel of photographers. An achiever. A motherly figure. Reviver of the tiger clan. No words can describe the character that defined this extraordinary tigress.

She has single-handedly brought back Ranthambore and her striped clan from the brink of oblivion to the flourishing tiger land that it is today. It is believed that about 80% of her offspring make up the Ranthambore tiger tribe! To make this a reality, she overcome a host of hurdles, as she established her rule in one of the most prime terrains of Ranthambore- Rajbagh, Padam and Malik lakes. In all earnest, she was proclaimed the Lady of the Lakes”!

Bravery was her second name, her slight frame yet unflinching mind let her partake daunting tasks. One such incident, the kill of a 14 foot crocodile on the banks of the Ranthambore lakes. A new name was conferred upon her being- Crocodile Killer.  Her boldness shone through her photogenic poses, as she seemed to enjoy the limelight that wildlife photographers and the likes of Nat Geo bestowed on her. She was the photo-queen, making her presence felt, non-chalant yet mesmerizing. The most photographed and filmed tiger or recent times. She was christened Machli owing to the fish-shaped mark on her face.

Her valor and vivacity have been rightly recognized, in the mere mortal ways that we humans can bestow love and appreciation. A postal stamp to her credit and a lifetime achievement award are remnants of a life beyond the ordinary. While we continued to shower our love and attention on the graceful beast, she occupied herself with her core responsibilities, never wavering away from her goals. Doting mother of 9 cubs across 4 litters, she has solely raised some of the much celebrated tigers and tigresses of the present day Ranthambore.

As nature lovers and wildlifers, today mourn a great loss, let us not forget, she shall always stay alive in our hearts. Today is an occasion to celebrate her outstanding life- a life lived to the maximum, devoid of inhibitions and full of energy and enthusiasm till the end. Maybe we humans can take a piece from this beautiful beast and make a pledge to imbibe some of her unique qualities? That shall be tribute enough to Machli! Maybe I can hear a faint roar from up above the clouds-

Live life Queen-size!

Machli (T16) is the oldest tigress/tiger to have survived till the ripe age of 19 in the wild. This is equivalent to a phenomenal 110-115 human years.

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