She is known by many names – Queen of Pench, Pench Princess, T-15 technically and the most popular ‘Collarwali’ (one with a collar) because of the radio collar around her neck. But now the princess has turned mother and brought good news by giving birth to 4 tiger cubs in Pench tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh. With these births, the total cubs born in last 9 years has gone up to 26, a record in itself and making her the Queen Mother of this jungle for sure.
The four recent cubs were spotted with their mother by patrolling squad of the forest.
“There are four cubs and they are very small. It’s a good sign towards conservation efforts,” said Subhranjan Sen, field director of the reserve.
Born in 2005, the tigress herself is the daughter of the equally famous tigress of the region ‘Barrimada’ and tiger T-1 or ‘Charger’. Collarwali became the first of the tiger cubs of Barrimada to establish a territory in the core region in her mother’s home territory of karmajhiri range of the park. She was radio collared in 2008 for her movement to be observed. Although the the collar does not function now, the name ‘collarwali’ has retained giving her a unique and easy to remember identity.
But what really makes her special is this tigress’s ability to balance out the protective instinct for her cubs as well as the push they need to fend for themselves on their own in a jungle.
History of Collarwali as Mom
The tigress became a mother for the first time in 2008 when she gave birth to 3 tiger cubs. But as she was inexperienced, she could not save the litter from the harsh climate and all 3 died of pneumonia eventually, recalls a forest officer.
In October 2008 she again gave birth to 4 cubs and all of them survived. Between 2008 and 2013 she has had 18 cubs of which 14 have survived and with the recent litter the total cubs she’s reared are now 26 making it the highest number of tiger births by a tigress in Central India.
The staff who have been observing her for the last decade say that she uses 13 different sites in the protected reserve to give birth and look after her cubs.
According to Sagnik Sengupta a wildlife expert, who spoke to HT, Collarwali’s remarkable success at procreation stems from her tendency to let her cubs fend for themselves much before other tigresses do.
“She has a habit of keeping herself away from her sub-adult offsprings periodically to let them learn survival techniques on their own. This also gives her time to reproduce more frequently,” he said.
The department of post honoured Collarwali in 2015 by releasing a postage stamp in her name. She has also been issued special postage stamps by New Zealand and Canada.
Panna tiger reserve is now home to 50 adult tigers.
If you want to know more on how collarwali behaves as a smart and protective mom to her cubs, do read this detailed account that appeared in Sanctuary Asia.
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