The Indian Rhino is a big, huge animal. An adult male weighs about 2,200 kilos. That’s a LOT more than you do, isn’t it? There are several types of rhinos, but the Indian Rhino can be easily identified because it has only one horn. And that horn can grow up to 25 inches in length. Therefore, it is also sometimes called the Greater One-Horned Rhino.
Sometimes, during the time of the Moghul emperors, battles were staged between rhinos and elephants. The rhinos were usually the winners. So you can guess how powerful these animals are.
They can swim very well. They can also run very fast in short spurts, reaching speeds of up to 40 km per hour. Their hearing and sense of smell are excellent, but they can’t see very well.
The Indian Rhino is found in the foothills of the Himalayas. That means it lives in Nepal and Bhutan as well as in India. At one time, there were a lot of rhinos in this area. But as they feed on grass and shrubs, trees and fruits, they destroyed agriculture, and were considered pests. Large numbers were killed because of this. They were also hunted as a royal pastime.
Large-scale killing greatly reduced the rhino population in India, till only about 200 of these great beasts were left in the wild by the end of the 20th Century. Urgent steps were taken to safeguard the Indian Rhino, and today, it is one of the most important success stories in wildlife conservation. There are now about 3,500 Indian rhinos in the wild.
The Kaziranga National Park in Assam has the largest population of the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. In fact, the rhino is the State animal of Assam.