About Indian Rhino
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.
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.
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.
The Indian rhino is a primarily a grazer (although occasionally consuming
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
of Rhino in India
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
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.