The most famous tiger in India has been caught on camera fighting for her life against a younger, bigger male in an extraordinary sequence of pictures.
Machali, a 14-year-old tigress at the famous Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, was photographed trying to defend a kill last year by conservationist Aditya 'Dicky' Singh.
The popular tiger was given a 'lifetime achievement award' last year by pressure group Travel Operators for Tigers after it was estimated she had earned $10 million a year for the last ten years by attracting tourists to India.
Renowned wildlife photographer Dicky Singh captured the clash between Machali and the younger male, known only as T28, on April 1, 2009.
The spectacular fight lasted less than a minute and ended with the submission of Machali, who lost her meal as a result.
'We entered the park hoping to see some action but what we got to see just blew us away,' said Dicky, who was just 20 metres away when the fight erupted.
'It was a violent dance, both loud and aggressive, a life-time experience,' said Dicky.
After the younger male stole Machali's catch - a sambar, or Indian deer - the old matriarch held her ground before the big cats launched themselves at each other. Read more