Pench National Park is a striking dry deciduous forest located in the district of Seoni in the southern part of Satpura Range. This forest is named after the famous Pench river which flows from North to South dividing the forest into Eastern Part and Western Part. The Eastern Part is the Karmajhiri Range while the Western Part lies in the Gumtara Range.
The Pench Forest is extremely rich and diverse in its wildlife and scenic beauty with miscellaneous flora and fauna. Not to forget that it was the Pench Forest only which became the inspiration for Rudyard Kipling to pen his most famous fictional work “The Jungle Book”, to be later on picked by Walt Disney to be turned into an animated movie.
The Pench Tiger Reserve with its glorious history has become one of the topmost preferred tourism park amongst the Wildlife Lovers and Nature Photographers. Easy accessibility and quick convenient booking makes it an effortless ride for wildlife and nature lovers and an easy choice over other parks.
The forest has seen many famous tigers who have contributed to its immense popularity in the recent times. However, it is the Legendary Collarwali (T-15) born in 2005 who holds the top spot. She is famous Badi Mada and Charger’s, (a dominant and aggressive male tiger) daughter in spades, and a sister to 3 other tigers (1 female and 2 male).
Badi Mada or the Big Mother was a strong tigress, who gave birth to 19 cubs in her 12 years of motherhood. It is her lineage which her daughter is taking forward and the strong genes that Pench is now home to many strong tigers and cubs.
She and her siblings grew under the constant surveillance of the Trunk Camera that were tied to elephants for the famous Documentary ‘Spy in the Jungle’ series under the banner of ‘Big Brother’ TV program which later went on to become a big hit in 2008. These cameras captured them in their true stripes (pun intended) playing, cuddling, fighting, hunting, growing together and later on separating to find their own paths for territory.
Later as the number of visitors started increasing, Collared Tigress T-15 became a regular sighting for the tourists and became everybody’s admiration. She was often spotted hunting for her favorite meal and became the eye candy of the park.
T-15 (Official name by the forest department) or Collarwali (Name given by local people) is not only the most popular tigress of the forest, but also of all the neighboring forests of the State of Madhya Pradesh and of the country.
She gained instant popularity when she gave birth to a litter of 5 cubs in 2011. Since the year 2008, she has given birth to 22 cubs in 6 litters breaking the record of all tigresses in India. Unfortunately, her first 3 cubs from first litter didn’t survive when she got pregnant in only 30 months.
It is Collarwali herself and her lineage of 22 tigers that has played the major role in the good sighting of tigers in Pench Tiger Reserve and consequent increase in footfall to a large extent. Since, Collarwali herself is a very strong and active tigress, most of her cubs have survived and are growing up strong and healthy as well. Collarwali has taken immense care of all her cubs, protecting and safeguarding them.
When I came here, I found everyone raving Collarwali, piquing my interest instantly, and now I can attest it wasn’t some baseless fan following. I came to Pench in year 2010, when she birthed 5 cubs together, which was a first in world that any tigress had 5 cubs together. I have had the good fortune of spotting them all many times, in fact one time I was blessed enough to spot all six of them together on the road.
About the Authors
Neha is an easy crazy painter, storyteller and writer.
Omveer Choudhury is a famous and revered Naturalist at Tuli Tiger Corridor Pench , Seoni. He knows about Pench and its flora and fauna in and out. He is the main contributor of the above story about famous Biggies of Pench.