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‘Collar Wali’ cynosure of all eyes in Pench Tiger Reserve

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By Lemuel Lall (with pix) Bhopal, Aug 26 (PTI) An 11-year-old Royal Bengaltigress has set a record of sorts by begetting 22 cubs since2008 in Madhya Pradesh’s Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR), thusbecoming the cynosure of all eyes as tourists flock in largenumbers to catch a glimpse of the majestic beast. Forest experts say the tigress’ popularity is akin toIndia’s most famous feline ‘Machli’, of Rajasthan, who diedlast week. "Royal Bengal Tigress T-15, popularly known as ‘CollarWali’ (one with a collar), has given birth to 22 cubs in sixseparate litters since 2008. I have not heard of any tigressthat has given birth to 22 cubs anywhere," Pench TigerReserve’s field director Subharanjan Sen told PTI. The tigress gave birth to five cubs in 2011 and rearedall of them, he said. According to the last tiger count of 2014, the stripedanimal population in PTR, spread over Seoni and Chhindwaradistricts of MP, was between 35 and 49, he said. T-15 is known as ‘Collar Wali’ as she was the firsttigress to be radio collared in PTR for tracking hermovements, though her radio collar is defunct now, anotherforest official said. ‘Collar Wali’ gave birth to 22 cubs in 6 littersbetween 2008 and 2015, said Kanha Tiger Reserve’s fielddirector Sanjay Shukla, who is former Chief Conservator ofForests, Seoni that houses PTR. Shukla said the Department of Post issued a specialcover envelope of Collar Wali on World Sparrow Day lastyear (March 20, 2015). Besides, New Zealand and Canada tooissued personalised stamps on the tigress last year. He said the tigress lives in Karmajhiri range in thecore area of PTR and her offsprings have raised the populationof big cats in the tiger reserve. The tigress was born to tiger T-1, also known asCharger, and tigress Badimata in 2005, wildlife activist fromSeoni, Sanjay Tiwari said. Charger and Badimata too used to be a major touristattraction once, he informed. Tiwari said "tiger enthusiasts both from India and abroadare crazy about Collar Wali. They stay put in hotels just toget a glimpse of the tigress". Earlier, India’s most famous tigress ‘Machli’, ofRanthambore Tiger Reserve, died last week. The tigress wasborn in 1996 and was considered the world’s oldest big cat.The feline had 11 cubs. PTI LAL MAS GKRT

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