Indian Rhino - The Indian rhinoceros is similar to a unicorn, with a single horn and it is very hard to find, being among the rarest mammals in the world today.
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India Wildlife Tour » Indian Wildlife » Indian Rhino
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Indian Rhino



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About Indian Rhino
Indian RhinoThe Indian rhinoceros ("rhino") has one horn, and it has skin with loose folds which make it appear armored. These characteristics distinguish it from the African (black and white) rhinos. It weighs 1600 (female) - 2200 (male) kg (3500 - 4800 lb). The Indian rhino has been recorded from a number of habitats, including marshy lowland and reedbeds; tall grass or bush with patches of savanna and occasional streams and swamps; thick tree and scrub riverine forest; and dry, mixed forest. The Indian rhino mainly eats grass, reeds and twigs, feeding mostly in the morning and evening. It is usually solitary and spends long periods lying in water and wallowing in mud.

Habitat
The Indian rhino formerly occurred from the foothills of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, across the sub-Himalayan region, to the India-Myanmar border on the eastern edge of the Brahmaputra watershed. By the late 19th century, the Indian rhino had been eliminated from everywhere except the Chitwan Valley (Nepal), lowland Bhutan, the Teesta Valley (west Bengal, India) and the Brahmaputra Valley (Assam, India). For most of the 20th century, known populations have been concentrated in southern Nepal and northeastern India.

Type of Rhinos in India
There are five kinds of Rhinos found in the world -
» Indian Rhino
» White Rhino
» Black Rhino
» Javan Rhino
» Sumatran Rhino

The white and black Rhinos are live in Africa, while Indian, Javan and Sumatran are Asian Rhinos, found in Noth Pakistan, Assam in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Physical Characteristics of Indian Rhino
The usual weight of an Indian Rhino is 2,000 kg. The one way to distinguish between a an Indian Rhino and an African Rhino is the single horn. Both white and black African Rhinos have two horns. Another distinguishing feature of the Indian Rhinoceros is its skin, which is knobbly and falls into deep folds at its joints, giving a look like the Rhino is wearing a coat of armour.

All the Rhinos are vegetarian and Indian Rhinos mostly eat grass, fruits, leaves and crops. Their well developed upper lip helps them to eat out tall elephant grasses, which they like the best. It also helps them to pull out aquatic plants by the roots. Indian Rhinos usually prefer to roam around in the morning and evening hours to avoid the heat of the day and live for about 40 years.

History of Indian Rhinos
The Indian rhino has occurred in the sub-Himalayan region in historic times, the western limit of its range moving eastward from the foothills of the Hindu Kush west of Peshawar (Pakistan) in the early 1500's to the Nepal terai in the 20th century. The eastern limit of its historic range is uncertain. Some authors believe that it occurred in Cambodia, Laos,Thailand and Vietnam. Others believe that it never occurred east of the India-Myanmar border, and that reports from east of that border were mistaken, caused by confusing the Indian rhino with the Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) or the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).

Distribution
By the late 19th century, extensive land clearing and hunting eliminated the Indian rhino from everywhere except the Chitwan Valley (Nepal), lowland Bhutan, the Teesta Valley (west Bengal, India) and the Brahmaputra Valley (Assam, India). Its population in India probably fell to its lowest level about 1904 (Gee 1958). For most of the 20th century, known populations have been concentrated in southern Nepal and northeastern India.

Ecology
The Indian rhino is a primarily a grazer (although occasionally consuming some browse).
When not grazing on land, immerses itself in water, where it also grazes on aquatic grass-like plants. Hence, this species is the most amphibious of the living rhino.

Indian RhinoHome of Rhino in India
Kaziranga National Park
Lying along the mighty Brahmaputra river, the Kaziranaga National Park covers an area of about 430-sq-kms. Its swamps and grasslands with tall thickets of elephant grass and patches of ever green forest support the largest number of Rhino population in the whole of Indian subcontinent. Once reached to an alarming point due to hunting and poaching, this area came under wildlife conservation in 1926 and in 1940, Kaziranga was declared a sanctuary.

Manas National Park
Manas national park is another Rhino refuge and is noted for its population of the rare Golden Langur - found only this part of India. Other primates in Manas include the Capped Langur, Assamese Macaque, the slow Loris and the Hoolock Gibbon. Over 2, 840-sq-kms in area, Manas is a fascinating Tiger Reserve. The reserve is also home to the attractive Red Panda, but these are seen occasionally in the higher elevations. Manas is a very special biosphere, for it harbours twenty species of birds and animals that are highly endangered and listed in the IUCN Red Data Book. These include the Hispid Hare and the Pigmy Hog.

Threats/Reasons for Decline
By the early 1900's, the Indian rhino was already thought to be a "vanishing race." Hunting was important to the decline, but man's modification of the rhino's habitat for cultivation and grazing was instrumental in reducing the rhino population to the point where hunting became critical (IUCN 1967). Currently, with most Indian rhinos occurring only in sanctuaries, poaching (mainly for use of its horn in Oriental medicine) is still important, as well as competition for grazing with domestic stock and trespass by villagers for firewood and fodder.
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