Indian Rhino






"RHINOCEROS UNICORNIS" : "rhino" meaning "nose" and "Cero" meaning "horn" in Greek, and "uni" meaning "one" and "cornis" meaning "horn" in Latin.

The Indian Rhino has a brownish -gray, hairless, rivet-plated (armor-plated), knobby skin, one horn and a semi-prehensile upper lip.

Type of Rhinoceros
There are five kinds of Rhinos found in the world :
* White Rhino
* Black Rhino
* Indian Rhino
* Javan Rhino
* Sumatran Rhino
The white and black Rhinoceros are live in Africa, while Indian, Javan and Sumatran are Asian Rhinos, found in Noth Pakistan, Assam in India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Behavior
They feed on grass, fruits, leaves, tree and shrub branches and cultivated crops. Females are sexually mature at 5 to 7 years of age; males at 10 years. Their gestation period is approximately 15 to 16 months. Their life span is approximately 50 years.

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.

Food
The diet consists of grass, fruit, leaves, branches, aquatic plants, and cultivated crops. Tall reedy grasses are preferred to short species. The prehensile upper lip is used to curl around grass stems to bring them into the mouth. When eating aquatic plants, rhinos submerge their entire heads and tear the plant up by the roots. Foraging occurs at night, in early morning, or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. Rhinoceros unicornis drinks daily and is fond of mineral licks.

Size
Indian Rhinoceros weighs 1600 (female) - 2200 (male) kg (3500 - 4800 lb).

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.

Rhino Kingdom - The Land of Indian Rhinoceros
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.

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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