She’s also the reason why the Krankach surroundings have the highest density of lions in the entire Saurashtra peninsula, the only place where Asiatic lions are found. According to forest officials, she has mated five different lions in the last 12 years (a lioness matures at age of three) and given birth to healthy cubs none of which had died over the years. An average lioness gives birth every three years (36 months) but Rajmata has delivered cubs every 28 or 29 months.
District Conservator of Forest Mohan Ram said: “She’s the largest lioness I have ever seen. She’s grandmother to several mature lions and lionesses in the area. However, exact number of cubs delivered by her is not on record.” Dr Jalpan Rupapara, radiologist, who has studied lions for over nine years, said: “Rajmata’s the most magnificent lion or lioness I have ever seen. She has mated five lions in her lifetime. In the last one month she mated with three different lions during which she received injuries and had to be admitted for treatment. I have myself seen her deliver 13 cubs, the highest ever by any one lioness, though the overall figure could be much higher. She looks much younger than other average 15-year-old lioness.”
Rajmata reigns as the ‘queen’ of Liliya-Krankach belt, about 42 km from Amreli town. About 28 lions reside in the area in the vicinity of the Shetrunji river. Out of 124 lions in Amreli, as per 2015 census, 80 were recorded in Savarkundala, Liliya and its adjoining areas. The area falls under the Bruhad Gir area which has been declared as eco sensitive zone by the forest department.
‘Her strength, grace is sight to behold’
Liliya-based wildlife activist Rajan Joshi said: “Rajmata traverses 100 km between Gondal and Botad. She is believed to be the mother and grandmother of almost all the 40 lions found in the area. Not only Rajmata’s strength, but even her size is impressive.”