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‘RIP Queen of Pench’: MP Mourns Loss of 'Supermom' Tigress Collarwali

Collarwali birthed 29 cubs in 16 years, and passed away of old age after being spotted last on 14 January.

Updated
Environment
3 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

Madhya Pradesh’s legendary tigress ‘T15’ who gave birth to 29 cubs during her lifetime, and was most popularly known as Collarwali, breathed her last on Saturday, 15 January, bringing an end to an era of tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve.

Ashok Kumar Mishra, Field Director, Pench Tiger Reserve, said that the cause of death of T15 was multiple organ failure resulting from her old age.

In the postmortem it was clear that her intestine was blocked with hair and mud. Which led to rupture and further causing multiple organ failure
Ashok Kumar Mishra, Field Director, Pench Tiger Reserve
  • 01/03

    The tigress was cremated on Sunday noon at the hands of Shanta Bai, a tribal leader.

    (Photo: The Quint)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>The tigress was cremated on Sunday noon at the hands of Shanta Bai, a tribal leader.</p></div>
  • 02/03

    File photo: 'Badi mada' T7 tigress with a young Collarwali

    (Photo: The Quint)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>File photo:&nbsp;'Badi mada' T7 tigress with a young Collarwali</p></div>
  • 03/03

    File photo: The second litter of Collarwali

    (Photo: The Quint)

    <div class="paragraphs"><p>File photo:&nbsp;The second litter of Collarwali</p></div>
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Collarwali was being monitored by forest officials since Thursday, 13 January. On Friday, tourists noticed her lying down for nearly two hours at her usual spot near Bhura Dev Nallah and alerted the officials. Later, the forest department blocked the road and took her in for observation.

She had been sluggish for the last two days and we had been monitoring her since Thursday evening.
Ashok Kumar Mishra, Field Director, Pench Tiger Reserve

The tigress was cremated on Sunday noon at the hands of Shanta Bai, a tribal leader who has been vocal about improving the conditions of tribals in the area.

Collarwali, the Tigress

Collarwali was the first ever tigress to be collared in Pench Tiger Reserve on 11 March, 2008 and was instrumental in Madhya Pradesh receiving the tag of ‘Tiger State’.

Collarwali was born to renowned tiger T1, fondly called the ‘Charger’, and T7, tigress famously called ‘Badi Mada’ (Big Mother) in September 2005. She was the eldest of the four cubs.

She was collared because she was one of the most active and curious cubs to start fending for herself, move out and demarcate her own territory.

She had been instrumental in increasing the population of tigers in the reserve, and gave birth to 29 cubs, out of which 25 survived, according to reports.

The male cubs of the ‘supermom’ now dominate the Pench forest and adjoining area in Maharashtra.

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Collarwali gave birth to her first litter in May, 2008 but they could not survive. In October the same year, she gave birth to four cubs.

In October 2010, the tigress Collarwali surprised everyone by giving birth to five cubs at a time. In her last and eighth pregnancy in early 2019, she gave birth to four more cubs.

Nation Mourns 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan paid homage to T15 and said that the 'Super Tigress Mom' who gave birth to 29 cubs, was key to the state getting the tag of 'Tiger state'.

Condolences poured in from various quarters over the death of the legendary tigress. IAS officer Aditi Garg tweeted a quote from William Blake's poem, The Tyger, and said, "RIP, Queen of Pench. You lived long and majestically. You ruled the food chain and because of you an entire forest was alive."

Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Neha Srivastava tweeted, "The Queen is no more. Died because of old age. Leaving behind her legacy and her 29 cubs. Her contribution is immense in restoring back the ecological balance by improving the tiger population."

IAS officer Sonal Goel tweeted that it was heartwarming to see locals pay tribute to Collarwali like family. "RIP the Queen of Pench ! Such respect & love can only be in India. Heartwarming to see locals pay tribute to the tigress just like their family. Collarwali was called as ‘mother of Pench’, she holds record of giving birth to 29 Cubs," she tweeted.

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IFS officer Parween Kaswan tweeted that Collarwali was a legend among legends. "Legendary among legends. Collarwali the famous tigress who holds record of giving birth to 29 cubs. She is no more now. But left her species in good health," he tweeted.

Rajesh Sawhney, Founder and CEO of GSF Accelerator, tweeted condolences for the tigress and said that Collarwalli has contributed the most (amongst all tigress in this century) in reviving the tiger population in India. "RIP Mother Tigress! Tigress Collarwali, mom to 29 cubs, dies in Pench Tiger Reserve. She has contributed the most (amongst all tigress in this century) in reviving the Tiger population in India. Thanks mother; May your legacy live forever and grow multifold," he tweeted.

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