Indian Rhino Animals & Plants

About the Indian Rhino

Possessing body like armor, the skin of the Indian rhinoceros is a highly distinctive characteristic. Its single horn distinguishes the Indian rhinoceros from its African counterparts, all of whom possess two horns. Consequently, the Indian rhinoceros is also referred to as the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros. Weighing up to 2200 kg (4800 lb.), Indian rhinos graze in flood plain areas in Northern India and Nepal.  The possession of prehensile lips (lips that have the ability to grasp) ensures that they are well adapted to their herbivorous lifestyle. They occasionally eat leaves, fruit, and crops as well as a variety of aquatic plants which they may encounter while swimming. To combat the heat, Indian rhinos tend to be most active during the cooler parts of the day and immerse themselves in nearby rivers and mud holes during extremes of heat.
Rhinoceroses have poor eye sight. However, they compensate for a lack of acute vision by having an exceptionally well developed sense of hearing and smell. In fact, they use their enhanced sense of smell to seek out possible mates during the breeding season! At around 4-6 years old, female Indian rhinoceroses are ready to mate. The males generally reach breeding age on reaching their ninth year, but only the largest and dominant male rhinos will mate. After a 15- to 16-month gestation period, the female rhino will give birth to a single calf.  Male rhinoceroses do not help in rearing the young. Generally solitary creatures, except for mothers and offspring who stay together, Indian rhinos live in loosely-defined territories. These territories are marked with urine, faeces, and glandular secretions. That said, Indian rhinos may meet up at watering holes without fighting.

Habitat

The Indian rhinoceros is also referred to as the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, weighing up to 2200 kg (4800 lb.) and can be found grazing in the flood plain areas of Northern India and Nepal.  An Indian Rhinos diet Includes leaves, fruit, and crops as well as a variety of aquatic plants which they may encounter while swimming.

Wild Notes

Rhinoceroses are the largest land mammals after the elephant and are made up of five species, two African and three Asian. The African species include both the white and black rhinoceroses with both species possessing two horns. Asian rhinos include the Indian (or great one-horned rhinoceros) and the Javan, each with one horn, and the Sumatran, which has two. 
 

Conservation

Indian rhinoceroses are currently listed as vulnerable on IUCN’s Red List, but fortunately, their numbers have risen due to conservation efforts. India and Nepal have strengthened their opposition to poaching and have created parks and reserves to protect the rhinos.   Fota Wildlife Park is hoping to contribute to this conservation success by partaking in a co-operative breeding programme for this vulnerable species

Save the Rhino estimates that there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the group says, there are an estimated 30,000 rhinos remaining in the wild. Poaching and loss of habitat have put all rhino species in danger of extinction by the year 2020 unless a concerted effort is made to halt the rate of loss resulting from poaching and habitat reduction . [Related: 2013 Was Record Year for Rhino Poaching in South Africa]
According to International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species:
• Black rhinos, Sumatran rhinos and Javan rhinos are "critically endangered," which is the list's highest risk category. There are 5,055 black rhinos, fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos and only 35 to 44 Javan rhinos. [Related: Javan Rhino Officially Extinct in Vietnam]
• Greater one-horned rhinos (Indian Rhino) are "vulnerable," which means they may become endangered unless circumstances improve. Fortunately, their population is increasing; there are 3,333 greater one-horned rhinos in the world. The total population estimate in 2007 was 2,575 individuals, according to the IUCN.
• White rhinos are "near threatened," which means they may be considered threatened by extinction in the near future. Southern white rhinos have an increasing population; there are 20,405 southern white rhinos. However, the northern white rhino may be facing extinction soon.

Did you know?

The five species range in weight from 750 pounds all the way to to 8,000 - or four tons!

Rhinos live up to 35 years in the wild.

The Fota Connection

On June 25th, Fota Wildlife Park welcomed its first Indian Rhino to the Asian Sanctuary. The lone male named Jamel has been sent on breeding loan from Whipsnade Zoo in the UK and will be joined by two additional rhinos in late Autumn.

 

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The impetus for the development of the Asia Sanctuary is to enhance the Wildlife Park to become an iconic international visitor attraction.

The concept of the development will be in line with the existing unique open nature of the Wildlife Park but will be designed to give this new development an authentic Asian ambiance.

Phase 1: Asian Forestry June 2014

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215

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