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The Indian


By John-Luke Voshall Bio 227

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Common Names: Indian rhinoceros, greater one-horned
rhinoceros, and Nepales rhinoceros
Characteristics: The Indian rhinoceros is the largest of all the
rhino species with the females weighing in at an average of
3500 lbs and males at 4800 lbs. At the shoulder, the average
height for females is 4.865.68 ft and for males is 5.586.10 ft..
Both males and females have a single, large black horn on their
nose that can range from 8-25 inches long.
Their hide is a greyish brown color with many skin folds and
bumps, this gives the rhino their signature armored look. The
many folds in their skin increase surface area of their body in
order to regulate body temperature. The typical life span for the
Indian Rhinoceros is from 40-50 years. They have a gestation
period from 15-16 months and females can have a calf every 1-3

Anatomy of Indian Rhinoceros:

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Habitat and Behavior: Indian rhinos typically live in a few types
of habitats such as alluvial plains-- plains with soil which has been
deposited by running water, riverine grasslands, drier Sal forest, or
tropical almond forest. The species mostly eats grass, but also eats
things like fruits, leaves, branches, or the crops of farmers. They are
mostly solitary creatures, with exception of the females taking care
of the calves and in temporary groups when they feed or rest. The
ranges of the rhinos often overlap and the stronger more dominate
male rhinos do not bother the weaker ones because they are not a
territorial species. Indian rhinos are mostly friendly to each other,
they greet each other with the bobbing of the heads or nuzzling of
noses, but they do fight a times. Rhinos often spar and adult rhinos
can have viscous fights to the death. Fights the dominant male are
the leading cause of rhino mortality. By being active mostly at night,
in the early morning, and late afternoon the Indian rhino avoids the
heat of day in the shade. In addition, they are very good swimmers
and spend some time in rivers cooling of.
Geographic population changes: Indian rhinos are
endemic to northern India, Nepal, and they are now regionally
extinct in Bangladesh and Bhutan. The species has been in decline
since 1600 and it was almost extinct at the beginning of the 20 th
century. Today Indian rhinos live in small subpopulations in Nepal
and in the West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Assam parts of India.
The total population on the recovery plan as of 2007 is an estimate
of 2,575 individuals, with 378 of these living in Nepal and 2,200 in
India. As of 2016 the World Wildlife Fund estimates the population

Listing and type of listing: The Indian Rhinoceros is listed
as vulnerable on the IUCN red list as of 2008

Threats: The Indian Rhinoceros has been in decline for a long time
and this is due to their habitat of alluvial grasslands being
converted to fertile farm lands. This lead the rhinos to have less
land to live on, so they would be on the farmers lands and these
farmers would see them as agricultural pests and kill them. Today
the main threat to the rhinos is poaching for their horns. The horn is
harvested to be used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some other
threats to the rhinos are the introduction of invasive species to the
grasslands where the rhinos live, and the reduction of wetlands and
grasslands due to encroaching forests. Also local livestock eats a lot
of the grass that rhinos need to survive. The species is at major risk
because over 70% of its population occurs at a single site, at the
Kaziranga National park in India. The puts them in even more
danger, because the poachers know where they are.
Description of recovery plan: This species has been listed as
vulnerable since 1975 and the Indian and Nepalese governments have been
doing of much better job in rhino conservation. The Indian rhinoceroses has seen
much support from with World Wildlife Fund and other non-governmental
organizations. The government has introduced many strict anti-poaching laws so
that the rhinos can stay protected. Some of the things being done to help the
rhino population to grow are programs that target inactive plant species,
protection of wetlands through water management, and the limiting of livestock
grazing. Another important step is the increase of fencing to minimize human
and rhino contact, so rhinos will not bother the farm land. In the IUCN recovery
plan it states the steps and actions at need to be taken include, With the
support of the IUCN SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group, an Indian Rhino Vision
2020 and a Nepal Rhino Action Plan have been developed. These cover a
number of important and specific conservation measures, including:
translocating rhinos to bolster struggling populations (e.g., Manas National Park)
and to start new populations; improving security around rhino populations and
reducing poaching; assessing habitat status and management needs; expanding
available habitat through active management; improving protected area
infrastructure; training staf in specific rhino conservation techniques; reducing
human-wildlife conflicts; involving local people in rhino conservation; and
implementing education and awareness programs. Overall, there is a need for
further reintroductions, thereby reducing the concentration of over 70% of the

What can you do?

The World Wild Fund has a program where you can symbolically adopt a rhino
to support their conservation eforts. Also the World Wildlife Fund has
materials to learn about the prevention of wild life crime.


Works Cited
"Animal Info - Indian Rhinoceros." Endangered Animals. N.p., 5 Dec. 2005. Web. 05
Mar. 2017.
Dinerstein, E. (2003). The Return of the Unicorns: The Natural History and
Conservation of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros. New York: Columbia University
Press. ISBN 0-231-08450-1.
"Greater One-Horned Rhino." WWF. World Wildlife Fund, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2017.
"Indian Rhino - Rhinoceros Unicornis." RRC: Indian Rhino. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar.
Talukdar, B.K., Emslie, R., Bist, S.S., Choudhury, A., Ellis, S., Bonal, B.S., Malakar,
M.C., Talukdar, B.N. & Barua, M. 2008. Rhinoceros unicornis. The IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species 2008: e.T19496A8928657.