The Demise of Collarwali The Tigress

The Land of Mowgli has lost a Queen. After 16 years of being in the Pench National Park and ruling over territory and guarding the same for the last 13 years without fail ‘Collarwali Tigress’ a.ka “Mataram” a.k.a T-15, left for heavenly abode on 15th Jan 2022.

Many well-known tigers have roamed the jungles of Pench but none brought so much fame to the park-like the majestic Collarwali (T-15). To say that she converted some hardcore city dwellers to nature, jungle, and tiger lovers will not be wrong. She became to Pench what B2 was to Bandhavgarh, Munna to Kanha, Maya to Tadoba, and Machli to Ranthambhore.

She was the offspring of Badimada, another popular tigress, and Charger, (an aggressive and powerful male tiger). She was one of the four in the litter, the other three, 2 males and 1 female.

 

collarwali the tigress

Picture clicked by Varun Mani

 

Collarwali was featured in the BBC documentary ‘Spy in the Jungle,’ which chronicles her development as a cub as part of a litter of four. In her own way, she’s a child star. Collarwali and her siblings grew up under the constant supervision of the Trunk Cameras that were tethered to camp elephants for the documentary, which went on to become a great hit in 2008. These cameras captured them in their natural habitats: playing, holding, caressing, fighting, chasing, hunting, maturing together, and eventually separating to find their own territory routes.

Collarwali was the first of Badimada’s four cubs to venture out on her own and claim territory in the heart of her mother’s territory. Her sister, who used to be known as the ‘Baghinnala female,’ established her territory on the outskirts of the Karmajhiri range, partially overlapping Badimada’s. As a cub itself, Collarwali (T-15) was bold and very soon she got used to the tourist vehicles.  Tigress T-15 was frequently sighted by tourists as the number of visitors increased, and it became a source of admiration for wildlife enthusiasts.

 

Journey of Collarwali The Tigress

Soon after acquiring some part of mother’s territory Collarwali had her first litter of three cubs in May 2008, at the age of two years and seven months. As a first-time mother, she had no idea how to care for them, and they died shortly after. She went into heat soon after and had her second litter in October 2008, with two males and two females. They spent two years with her. They were named as C4, C5, C6 and C7, and all survived. This proved that she was a quick learner.

 

Litter/Cubs of Collarwali The Tigress

Collarwali Tigress (T-15) Litter Chart
LitterApprox TimeParticulars
Litter – 1May-0803 Cubs, None survived
Litter – 2 Oct-0804 Cubs, All survived
Litter – 3Oct-1005 Cubs, All survived
Litter – 4May-1203 Cubs, All survived
Litter – 5Oct-1303 Cubs, All survived
Litter – 6 Apr-1504 Cubs, All survived
Litter – 7Feb-1703 Cubs, All Survived
Litter – 8 Jan-1904 Cubs, None survived

 

collarwali tigress with cubs

 

In March 2008, specialists from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, attached a radio collar to the tigress which gave her a new name Collarwali. She was known by this name internationally.

She can be rated as the most popular tigress on social media as she was born when the social media made its first impression worldwide.  In October 2010 Collarwali gave birth to 05 cubs. The news and sightings pictures and videos started floating around which attracted more and more tourists. And the Tigress received more love from all around the globe. Those days Collarwali used to be seen with her five cubs around Sitaghat, Bison Camps and Allikatta Fireline and sometimes she came till Kalapahar and Bizamatta Talab.

Many tourists came to Pench just to see her and she never disappointed anyone since 2010 till 2020. It was a dream for all tiger lovers and photographers to get her and her litter of 5 in one frame, and many of them were delighted having got the same. The vehicles would go directly towards her territory when the park opened for safaris.

In May 2012, her fourth litter was born when the dominant male was Rayakassa Male or Sula tiger (S1). She had three cubs named C13, C14, and C15 in her fourth litter. She chose a nearby location of the Alikatta Elephant Camp where lantana scrubs are abundant, providing a safe haven for cubs. Sightings were again bombarding. She and her cubs have never seen the safari vehicles as threat. There have been occasions when Collarwali used the tourist vehicle and Elephants to ambush before launching herself on her prey. This proved her adaptability, will to succeed and turn the events around her to her advantage.

In October of 2013, she had her fifth litter, which had three cubs named C16, C17, and C18. All of the cubs were males. Keeping the chain going, her 6th litter was born in April 2015, with two males and two females. C19, C20, C21, and C22 were their names. Collarwali tigress set a new record by giving birth to her seventh litter in February 2017. She broke her own record by giving birth to 04 cubs on December 2018.

Collarwali has had litters from four of her mates: T30, Chhota Male, Rayyakasa male, who has been with her since 2012 untill the time L Mark son of Rayakassa with Langdi female entered in 2019. According to tiger specialists, having eight litters in a 16-year lifespan is unusual, as tigresses typically have their first litter at the age of three and wait at least two years between them. Furthermore, the number of cubs per litter is entirely a biological phenomenon, with tigresses having as little as 12 cubs from as few as six litters. Collarwali is unique not only because of the number of litters she has produced, but also because of the number of cubs she produced.

During her lifetime Collarwali has won the heart of every wildlife enthusiast who have visited Pench. She died of multiple organ failure because of Old Age at the age of 16 years and 04 month.

After her death also the tigress has got the respect and the affections from all the wildlife enthusiasts, as she has lived her life well. People from around the National Park, the locals, the guides, the forest gaurds and all the wildlifer who could reach there has reached and Shanta Bai, a tribal leader who has been active about improving the conditions of tribals in the area, cremated the tigress on Sunday afternoon 16th Jan 2022.

 

Video by Subash Bhawre, Pench Guide

Frequently Asked Questions about Collarwali

Why Collarwali, T-15 Tigress is called as Collarwali?

In March 2008, specialists from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, attached a radio collar to the tigress which gave rise to a new name Collarwali and known by the same in the heart of every wildlife enthusiast.

Why Collarwali Tigress is famous?

Collarwali Tigress has lived for 16 years and given birth to 29 Cubs in her lifetime, which is a world record. She has a huge role in increasing the tiger population in Pench National park.

When was Collarwali Born?

Collarwali Tigress was born in October 2005.

What was the age of Collarwali when she died?

She died on 15th Jan 2022 at the age of 16 years and 04 month.

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