"Collarwali", the famous tigress of Madhya Pradesh's Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in India, who had earned the tag of "supermom" for giving birth to 29 cubs, has died, officials said.
The 17-year-old tigress, also known as T15, died on Saturday evening, they said. 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.
According to experts, the average age of a tiger is about 12 years. This female cub was radio-collared in March 2008. After that radio collar stopped functioning, she was again radio-collared in January 2010. The tigress later became famous as "Collarwali" or T15 tigress, the officials said.
"Collarwali" had first given birth to three cubs in May 2008, but they could not survive. For the last time, the tigress delivered four cubs in December 2018, which took the number of her cubs to 29. Officials think that this number could be a record.
In a rare occurrence, "Collarwali", born as one of the four cubs to famous tigress T-7 in September 2005, had given birth to a litter of five cubs (four females and one male) on October 23, 2010, the officials said. Madhya Pradesh, with 526 big cats, had emerged as the "tiger state" of the country in 2018.
A Pench Tiger Reserve's press release said that the tigress died at around 6.15 pm on Saturday at the Karmajhiri range of the reserve.
A team of foresters had been keeping a watch on the big cat's health for the past one week, it said, adding that the tigress died due to old age. The carcass was disposed of as per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines and its viscera is being sent to laboratories for examination, the release said.
"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.