India mourns the loss of the tigress, a symbol of the struggle to preserve the species

He is a national star, a “legend”, even the newspapers write: Halswali, the country’s most famous tigress and icon of Pench National Park, died on Saturday at the age of 16. A tigress so loved, so revered, that she was entitled to it funeral ceremonyone has to picture her imagining herself stretched out on a wooden bed, covered with an immaculate white shroud that leaves her head sticking out, surrounded by orange and pink flowers laid to hundreds of anonymous people who came to ask her to adopt.

A tribute that is explained because Collarwali was the symbol for the successful protection of tigers in India. When she was born in 2005, cats were almost gone. Hunting and deforestation increased them from 100,000 in 1900 to 1,400 in the early 2000s. In order to put a stop to this, the Indian authorities have therefore launched a major conservation campaign.

About fifty reserves have been set up, cameras have been installed everywhere to identify each tiger and finally some big cats have been given transmitter collars. Collarwali bearing his name “Collar” Necklace, was the first to have one, allowing healers to track their movements, their lives, and therefore their abilities: the ones the Native Americans call “Awesome Mom” contributed significantly to the survival of the species, giving birth to 29 young in eight litters, a national or even world record.

But if Collarwali is famous, it is because she knew how to win hearts by being the only tigress not to flee from visitors to the reserve. When a pickup truck drove by, she would come out onto the street and put on a show by casually strolling, becoming the queen of souvenir photos and helping to break the imagination of the evil, deadly tiger that attacks for no reason .

In this forest that inspired Rudyard Kipling The jungle Book, Collarwali showed that tigers hunt for food, not trophies. Or how to say that in order to protect and save them like all endangered species, you first have to change your attitude.

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