Ranthambore 19-year-old tigress ‘Machhli’ died on Thursday.

Ranthambore Tiger Reserve’s pride, 19-year-old tigress Machli, the oldest big cat ever known to have walked the wilderness, died on Wednesday morning after ailing for some time, officials said.

Machli, the most photographed big cat at the reserve, died at 9.40 a.m.

She had been refusing food and water for some time. She was under observation at Ama Ghati, in the fringe area of the reserve, and surrounded by a bevy of her admirers and forest officials when she died.

Her body has been taken to the Ama Ghati check post for the post mortem, after which it will be cremated. The cremation is to avoid the body parts from being harvested, Field Director of Ranthambore, Y.K Sahu told IANS.