Machali give her the respect and dignity she deserves by Michael J Vickers


There is a proposal sent for approval to the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India for Ranthambhore’s well known tigress ‘Machali’ to be dispatched to a taxidermist then stuffed and displayed for visitors to see once she has died.   I have prepared a petition requesting the authorities to disallow this course of action.  In my opinion when the sad time comes and this wonderful old tigress passes away she should be cremated with the respect and dignity that she well deserves and in accordance with rules laid down by the NTCA.  Please sign this petition that already contains almost 3,000 signatures and encourage others to do the same.  Thank you. Michael 

UPDATE 19/06/2014 – Machali and Cee4life In India

10346534_803822256303947_4089931212293125251_nMachli Will Be Safe and Protected for the Rest of Her Life – In May 2014 while director Sybelle Foxcroft was in Indonesia for Surabaya Zoo and Melani, we received a plea to help the iconic tigress Machli in India. We began to try to aid her immediately. The problem was that there were very well known tiger experts who disagreed with her being fed, although since 2011 she had been getting fed due to her loss of k9’s and Machli being so beloved around the world.
The claims as “it is natural to let her die she is a wild tiger not a pet” were just stupid. The moment humans stepped in and fed Machli, was the moment that the true natural process’s ended. To stop feeding her now was just cruel, inhumane and would likely cause Machli to still try to hunt and take down the easiest prey species in the world – a human being.

All scenarios of the “stop feed” were examined, and in both factual science and humanity and moral grounds, all scenarios equalled one thing – continue her protection until the very end.
So Sybelle went into fight for her, from Indonesia.
As Sybelle then crossed over to Thailand to go to the Tiger Temple to continue her 8 years of protection to her beloved tigers there, she fought for Machli. If anyone does not know of Sybelles work in the Tiger Temple it is highly recommended you read the book on this ( ) then you will really understand the meaning of courage in the face of fear and intimidation.

Due to unrest in Thailand she was caught in a martial law take over of the country and then a coup. As the on ground reports intensified on Machli’s plight and the “stop feed” agenda, increased, Cee4life knew there was no other option but to take the fight head on.

As ridiculous as this sounds, to aid an animal like a tiger, becomes like walking through a gauntlet of explosives, while being set on fire with arrows being shot at you. The heat of whom you must deal with to get a tiger safe is intense, more like an inferno of hot lava being poured on you. All the vicious obstacles come out, and its not only ugly but also dangerous.

Sybelle made it through to the airport in Thailand through a country in severe unrest, threats of violence and military surrounding her.

On arrival in Australia, more reports on Machli came through via legal channels, the situation was desperate now. What goes on behind closed doors, is not what you will see in the media. Briefly, behind the scenes Machli’s case was chaotic with those uneducated people virtually demanding she be starved and seeing absolutely no logic of the repercussions if they did that, along with showing the reality of loss of humanity, and then those that were trying hard to protect her for life.

As we have always said, there is good and bad in every country/place in the world. Cee4life liaised with the good in India who fought for the humane and right thing to do for one of India’s last tigers.

On 24th May 2014, Sybelle placed a call to India to the highest authorities on the Tigers. She spoke at length about all the reasons why the “stop feed” was not the moral or natural or humane thing to do.
It was confirmed that immediately after that phone call a fax was sent to reinstate Machli’s suppliments. Within days, Machli food was reinstated. (Ironically those that were publicly attacking cee4life, were boasting about the photos they took of her being fed, and saying we did not have our facts straight. Little did they know the reason she was being fed…..or why they got their precious photos….)

But her ongoing feeding was not confirmed, she was still in peril because of the stupidity of those aligning themselves with intimidating well know names, for reasons that they will only know themselves, and preferring to let this glorious girl who has earned these very people trying to condemn her to a agonising death, $800 million in tourism dollars in her lifetime.

Claims “she wants to die” “she is a troubled soul” – all utter illogical as it was clear Machli certainly loved life and wanted to live.

Machli the Bengal Tigress of India, like Melani the Sumatran Tigress of Indonesia was being petitioned for death. Both by the hands of so called “experts” and others who dared not go against the “experts” because of their own lack of courage and moral fibre. What an utter sin. But this is exactly what some people are like.

Cee4life prepared to go straight to India and take Machli’s case to the highest level possible and aid this lovely girl. Without mentioning any names involved, the very highest levels of Indian Government were all contacted by Cee4life while legal action was in motion.

Why the hell must we fight so hard for an animal that is suffering?? Why must we time and time again, all over the world, have to reach to the highest levels to have permission to be humane to an animal? Should not that be a natural aspect of our own humane souls?

So, to cut a long story short.

We are very ecstatic to notify you, once again without naming names, We can 100% tell you now from yesterday, Machli the beautiful iconic life loving tigress of Ranthambore WILL be safe and protected all her days humanely and never again be under peril even from those that wish her food stopped.

Machli is safe now in this aspect (however due to knowing poachers are targeting Ranthambore and all the tigers of india, there is a great need for action in protecting the last 1000 or so tigers there)

We have already notified all our donators on this outcome yesterday who gave so generously to aid us in this urgent mission as we are a 100% transparent organisation and appreciate everything that everyone supports us with.

So, no matter how much adversity that you may come up against, don’t loose faith, and don’t allow yourself to crumble, because it could mean life or death for a beautiful being.

Machli will be protected now, forever cared for.

This time humanity won

Never Give Up – Cee4life

Photograph by Bobby Bhargawa

Machali and Cee4life In India

Machali and Cee4life In India – Due to our upcoming visit in a couple of weeks to India, we thought it would be good to share we everyone the work that we have done in India and for the last of the Bengal Tigers. We provide education to the public, private and government sectors on many conservation issues and aid with the rescue and rehabilitation of both wild and captive animals, specifically Tigers. Cee4life works in most of the SE Asian countries, and have aided in conservation situations in USA, Kenya and European areas. Machali is based in India, in Ranthambore, so I thought it would be good to recap some of the work with have done to help in India.

Photo: cee4life

In 2011 when we conducted the educational event Freedom Walk for the Tigers at Corbett National Park which was aided by Indian media, specifically NDTV. –
In 2012 we happened to be in a remote area where a Tigress had one of her four cubs hit and killed by a car. The mother Tigress attacked any random vehicle that passed by for the next week. No one went to aid her. So we did. Here is the film of that.-

And we support anti poaching teams in India and provide them with their needs.

In early 2014 we released the very controversial Bengal Tiger Death Count report of all Bengal deaths of 2013, in hope the severe impact of poachers of the glorious Bengal Tigers could hopefully be clearly seen and inspire more anti poaching teams to be implemented and trained in a highly tactical manner –

Photo: cee4life

The director of Cee4life, Sybelle Foxcroft, has been requested by a number of Indian tiger lovers and conservationists to come to Ranthambore and visit Machali as there is great concern about her well being due to the conflict in the decision to feed or not feed Machali.
After seeing the difficult but successful recent rescue and rehabilitation of a Tiger Cee4life assisted in saving, we have been contacted regarding the great concern for Machali – For your information here is the documentary which ABC Foreign Correspondent did with us on this

I hope you enjoy reading through the work that we have been doing over the years to try and aid the Indian Bengal Tigers, and we thank the Indian Media and Authorities for their support in all of this. ~ Cee4life

Credits: CEE4Life

Semli (Romeo)

ADS_0000026651Living in the middle of the park on the borders of the visitor zones, Semli is a healthy tiger who is just coming of age. Cubs of Big Daddy (T2) and Kachidha female, Semli’s brother T7 is infamous for attacking a park ranger and traveling long distances on his way to Bharatpur, to everyone amazement.

Follow Semli’s antics here in the heart of the park.

Age: 8 years old (adult)
Code: T6
First seen: Unknown
Gender: Male
Notable marks: unknown
Born to father Big Daddy and mother T5, the Kachida female, Semli grew up in a well-known tiger family. Together with his brother (T7) and sister (T8 or Balas female) he was raised in the Kachida valley of the park. Semli and his father got along well and were often seen sharing their kills with each other, especially as his father aged.

Unlike his gentler brother, T7 had achieved great notoriety after attacking a Park ranger and travelling far from the reserve on a mission to find his own range. He was eventually spotted in the famous wetlands of Bharatphur, or Keladeo National Park Bird Sanctuary 150 miles away, where prey like Sambar are plentiful. He was soon tranquillised and set free in Sariska National Park in early winter of 2010, as part of a park restocking programme.

After Semli and his brother separated from their mother, they stayed together at the fringes of Machali’s territory – establishing a small territory of his own with Semli alley at its heart. Soon after he was seen mating with the young Berda female (T4) in the Semli and Berda valley. He has since been expanding his territory to encroach into Adidant and Lakkarda valley, bringing him into conflict with Ranthambhore matriarch Machali for her meals.

Credits: Tiger Nation 

Unnis (Krishna)

downloadUnnis was initially the shy one of the litter, as a cub staying close to her famous mother and sister at all times. When it was time for her to strike out on her own, quiet Unnis had little choice but to take over the “leftovers” of her mother Machali’s territory.  Supporting herself in this harsh and unforgiving environment was difficult. Timid Unnis kept to herself avoiding humans and other tigers.

However, its all changed today. After finding mate Sitara, she becme a mother to three cubs – two males and one female. Now, Unnis is starting to show her real strengths as a powerful hunter and mother, and after her sister’s disapperance from the lakes area, Unnis has moved in . Her first litter have all grown up, and now she is the ‘Lady princess of the lakes’.

Her two sons (T64 & T65) are still today within her Rajbagh territory and she gave birth to her second litter in Feb 2014.

Could she follow in her famous mother’s footsteps?

Age: 8 years old (adult)
Name Meaning: ‘Nineteen’ in Hindi
Code: T19
First seen: October 2006
Gender: Female
Notable marks: Double parallel ‘eyebrows’ over her right eye and two – pronged – fork mark on her left cheek
Four tigers walking on the forest tracks of Ranthambore tiger reserve
Satra, Athara and Unnis were born during the 2006 monsoon months to tigress Machali and T2, Ranthambhore’s dominant male.  At first, Machali kept the cubs between the lakes and Nalghati and rarely ventured out of this area. The territory boasts a high density of sambar deer (India’s largest deer species) on which the cubs were raised.
Unnis and her young sons cool off in 47 degree heat in 2012 (c) Anurag Sharma
Unnis and her young sons cool off in 47 degree heat in 2012 (c) Anurag Sharma

Unnis had to wait to take her over territory from her more dominant sisters, Stara, who ended by taking over her famous mother’s territory of the lakes, and her sister was translocated to Sariska. Unnis settled into the Lahpur Valley and welcomed her first litter of two males and one female sired by mate Sitara in December 2010. here she brought up her cubs with skill and tenderness, and the cubs where seen occasionally as they grew up, and Unnis began to loose her shyness.

In the winter of 2012 her sister, now with three young cubs was having a serious clash with the dominant male in her territory, Sitara, as he believed that Satra’s cubs where not his progeny – a dangerous assumption for young cubs.

The result was a battle that left both tigress and tiger injured, but fearing for her youngsters she fled to the protection of her cubs father, Dollar in the Kachida area of the park. This move gave Unnis the opportunity to come back home, to take Satra’s vacant territory. It was an ideal time as her cubs were now reaching independence and she was ready to have another litter.

Close up of Unnis at full throttle in an ambush (c) Bobby Bhargava
Close up of Unnis at full throttle in an ambush (c) Bobby Bhargava

She has since developed into a relaxed and beautiful young mother, and been seen hunting, flirting and mating with both Dollar and Sitara in April 2013.  Her two eldest sons (Akash T64 & Suraj T65) of her first litter are still be allowed to live under her protection around the Rajbagh lake. Will their father allow this state of affairs to continue for much longer?

Unnis (T19) lactating heavily in mid february 2014. First sign of a new litter (c) Bobby Bhargava
Unnis (T19) lactating heavily in mid february 2014. First sign of a new litter (c) Bobby Bhargava

Finally after many false hopes Unnis gave birth to a new litter in early Feb 2014. Exact litter size still to be confirmed.

Follow Unnis here on Tiger Nation

Sultanpur – the tiger

1Sultanpur (T24) is a well-known tiger residing in one of the Ranthambhore’s finest and most visited landscapes – the southern part of the park below the hill fort. Brought up around the many visitors and pilgrims that visit his home, he has been accused of killing a human – a charge that is often difficult to investigate.

Follow Sultanpur here and see if he really is a dangerous tiger or has been falsely accused.

Age: 9 years old (adult)
Code: T24
First seen: January 2006
Gender: Male
Sultanpur (T24) enjoying the cooling effect of the Sultanpur chowki pool today. He has a problem with his right front leg. Injury?! (C) Hemraj Meena
Sultanpur (T24) enjoying the cooling effect of the Sultanpur chowki pool today. He has a problem with his right front leg. Injury?! (C) Hemraj Meena

Sultanpur was one of three male cubs born to the Lahpur – Nagdi tigress T22 and father Jhumaroo and is a direct descendent of the park’s matriarch, Machali. He and his two brothers, Indala and Dollar, grew up in the rich hunting grounds of Nagdi – Lahpur before moving on to their present territories. Dollar has since earned the name “Father” after adopting his two young cubs orphaned by their mother who was killed in 2011. This behaviour has never before been seen among male tigers.

After separating from his mother, Sultanpur took residence in Chidi Kho valley of Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary, just south of the National Park. Sometime later he was seen limping, prompting the Forest Department to tranquilize him to extract a thorn from his front paw. At the same time, he was fitted with a radio collar – which has since been removed – to monitor his progress.

When T12, the dominant male of the Sultanpur area was relocated to Sariska, Sultanpur immediately occupied his territory. But in 2010, he found himself in trouble having been blamed for attacking a villager who had gone into the park to collect wood near the Ranthambhore road.

Follow Sultanpur here

These life stories were brought to you after years of careful observation, notes and photography. Aditya Singh is a principal contributor together with many of Ranthambhore’s nature guiding community, and the success of Tigerwatch’s ongoing intelligence. 

Sultanpur (T 24 OR USTAD) on zone 2 ...was enjoying his Sambhar's kill... (C) Yadvendra Singh
Sultanpur (T 24 OR USTAD) on zone 2 …was enjoying his Sambhar’s kill… (C) Yadvendra Singh
Sultanpur in the morning time yesterday .. and he is very full.. (C) Yadvendra Singh
Sultanpur in the morning time yesterday .. and he is very full.. (C) Yadvendra Singh

Credits: Tiger Nation

Where has Machali gone?

by Julian Matthews

The last photo we have of Machali now moved to Phili Ghat. (c) Yadvendra Singh
The last photo we have of Machali now moved to Phili Ghat. (c) Yadvendra Singh

Machali, the legendary cover girl for her species and the ever present symbol of Ranthambhore’s place amongst the firmament of India’s finest tiger reserves, is missing. The authorities are in a mild panic.

Too famous to let die of anything other than old age, for over two years she has continued to live in and around a small part of her old stamping ground, the Lakarda plateau,on the borders of her once large and very royal hunting ground. Here she remained, while her last litter of daughters, Satra (T17) and Unnis (T19) remained close. She was fed so called ‘meals on wheels’, goats and buffaloes brought by jeep and tethered on a rope to eat, a sop to her age, but in truth she was, at the ripe old age of 17 years, still capable of killing her own food. She also kept her sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, grandsons and granddaughters – for she was grandmother or mother to most of Ranthambhores tiger’s – from evicting her from her retirement home.

Free food is very tempting, and many tigers could not resist dining at the same ‘meals of wheels’ banquets, including Unnis (T19) her daughter, her two grandsons Suraj and Akash (T64 & T65), and also Semli, the dominant male of these parts (T6). Like Machali herself they knew the sound of the Forest vehicle and the bleeting or bellowing of the next victim, and came to join the feeding party. Anger and fighting ensued, and recently Machali finally gave way and left her Lakarda home for another area around Pili Ghati.

This part of the park was relatively unoccupied by tigers, disturbed too often by illegal woodcutters. Though she is used to the comings and goings of a million pilgrims in her old home, and the thousands of vehicle bound tourists, she would be unused to the more random actions of woodcutters, and the noise they made. Yesterday the Forest department took action to evict the woodcutters and restore protection to the area and peace to her rest home.

She has though not been seen now since the 9th January by our teams, but hopefully peace will be restored to her new home, and she will come out of hiding. The search continues.

Credits: Tiger Nation

Dollar (Zalim)

1Dollar, as he is also known because of the shape on his right flank stripe pattern, is amazing the experts. Part of a successful litter of three males, he has stunned the tiger world by “mothering” two four month old cubs orphaned when their mother died in the summer of 2011.

Dollar has succeeded (with a little help from the Forest Department) in protecting and feeding the cubs from the ever present dangers in their forest home, behaviour never before seen in the wild.

Follow this caring father here as he brings up his kids on his own.

Age: 8 years old (adult)
Code: T25
First seen: January 2006
Gender: Male
Notable marks: Dollar sign on his right flank (illustrated)
2Dollar (or Zalim as he is also called) was one of three male cubs born to the Lahpur – Nagdi tigress T22, and father Jhumaroo, and as such, is a direct descendent of the park’s matriarch, Machali. Dollar was originally thought to be a female, as only one pictures existed of him until he was a sub-adult. His two brothers Indala and Sultanpur grew up in a rich hunting grounds of Nagdi – Lahpur, where their father has resided for many years before moving out to their present territories.

After Dollar separated from his mother he was not seen for several months. During the summer of 2009, a new young male took residence in the Tamba Khan-Bhootkhurra area of the park. It took a few months to figure out that this new male was Dollar himself. Dollar’s brothers are no strangers to controversy and attention. Sultanpur has been accused of attacking a villager collecting wood near the Ranthambhore road. He has since moved to a key area of the park below the fort. Dollar’s other brother Indala has moved into his father’s old territory, recently vacated by villagers.

3Settling into his new territory, Dollar mated with Kachidha T5 in the late winter of 2011 , seeing the birth of his first cubs by the end of the monsoon. Tragically, not more than four months later in February 2011, Kachidha was found dead near a chowki (Guardpost) after howling all night, from the pain of internal haemorrhaging she had suffered. The Forest department faced an inevitable dilemma – to let her cubs live, or die without their mother’s care.

4Strategically placed bait helped smooth the transition to motherhood for Dollar and his cubs, proving experts wrong who believed they would inevitably die or be killed by leopard or hyena, and that males would never take over motherhood.

My beautiful pictureA camera trap in May 2011 first proved Dollar was really looking after his cubs, and since then Dollar’s extraordinary ‘mothering’ has prevailed and has since been documented leading his young cubs through his territory, teaching them the necessary skills for survival and occasionally admonishing them like any good mother. This extraordinary family, who always show affection for each other, regularly move through the tourism zones, delighting visitors.

6His daughters are getting bigger and stronger with every passing day and the protective dad has been trying to expand his cub’s territory, having been spotted clashing with formidable tigress Satra in the process.

7Follow this extraordinary father as he guides his motherless cubs to adulthood. Will he manage this delicate task?

These life stories were brought to you after years of careful observation, notes and photography Aditya Singh is a principal contributor together with many of Ranthambhore’s nature guiding community, and the success of Tigerwatch’s ongoing intelligence.

Credits: Tiger Nation