Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Indian Rhino

Know The One-horned Rhinos
The Indian Rhinoceros, internationally known as the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros is a colossally built beast of truly mammoth proportions that is next only to the Indian Elephant. Though it could once be found throughout India in the grassy flood plains of the Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, it is now confined to the banks of the Brahmaputra, for its natural habitat of marshes, grassland and swamps has constantly been turned into farmland.
Physical FeaturesThe Indian rhinoceros ("rhino") has one horn, and it has skin with loose folds which make it appear armored. A single One -Horned Rhino are about 1.5 to 1.8 m tall. The female Indian rhino weighs 1600 kg (3500 lb); male: 2200 kg (4800 lb).

Key Factors
Class : Mammalia
Zoological Name : Rhinoceros unicornis
Status : Endangered
Major Sites :
Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park in India.

Social Characteristics

The one-horned rhino is solitary in nature and spends hours wallowing in mud and water, or feeding on grasses. It feeds mostly in the morning and evening. It generally restricts its movements within an area of 5 sq km, though the males may sometimes move further in search of mates. One of their special features is the long noisy fights that occur between a male and a female at the time of courtship. Violent encounters ensue in a series of displays and postures involving curling of lips, and snorts and grunts. Rhinos can be amazingly agile despite their bulk and growth, and can charge at speeds of 4 to 8 km per hour.

Habitat & Diets

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. Some of this ecological flexibility may be due to seasonal preferences and some to pressure from development which forces the rhino into suboptimal habitat.

The Indian rhino mainly eats grass, reeds and twigs. It uses its prehensile upper lip to browse tall grass and shrubs. It can fold the tip away when feeding on short grass. Woody browse comprises about 20% of its diet during the winter. In some localities it feeds in cultivated areas.

Indian Rhinos & Conservation
The population of the one-horned rhino has decreased due to destruction of their natural habitat as well as uncontrolled and merciless poaching, for the mythical aphrodisiacal properties of its horn, as well as mythical medicinal properties of other parts of its body. One rhino horn can fetch as much as 20,000 US dollars, and even more in the international markets.

Major Sites
Indian Wildlife Authorities are now making a determined effort at rhino conservation. Translocation Projects are under operation, and the survival of the rhinos at all odds is the final goal. The Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros can be found in the national reserves of
Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park and Jaldapara.