Kaziranga
Kaziranga Safari
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Rhinoceros

Introduction
Kaziranga National Park in North Eart India is known world wide for Asiatic one horned rhinoceros successful conservation and its photographic safari. Considering the importance of Rhinos in Kaziranga wildlife, we are here sharing some of the important Rhinoceros facts.
Scientific Classification
Class
Mammalia
Family
Rhinocerotidae
Kingdom
Animalia
Order
Perissodactyla
Phylum
Chordata
Genus
Rhinoceros
Species
R. Unicornis
The Indian (greater one-horned) rhino was re-classified in 2009 from Endangered to Vulnerable, thanks to dedicated conservation efforts. In the early 1900’s, less than 200 Indian rhinos remained. Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities have been instrumental in the recovery of the Indian rhino. However, illegal killing of rhinos in national parks has increased in recent years. Kaziranga National Park This species’ proximity to China, where unfortunate myths attribute medicinal properties to rhino horn, leaves the Indian rhino in a precarious position. Vigilant law enforcement efforts combined with awareness campaigns targeting consumers and suppliers of rhino horn will be required if the Indian rhino is to survive in the wild Some people believe that dried, ground rhinoceros horn has magical medicinal powers to cure fever. Although it is illegal to kill rhinoceros, poachers still kill them, and rhino horn still fetches a high price. Numbers were reduced also in the past because there used to be a government plan for killing rhinos to prevent them from eating tea plants on the tea plantations because tea is an important Indian crop. About half way through last century there were just 200 left. Today, there are about 1,500 Indian rhinos, so protection plans are slowly showing some success.

Distribution
Indian rhinos are found only in national parks and protected areas of India and Nepal. In India, it is found in North-East region, especially in Assam state forest areas. Whearas in Nepal, it is found in wildlife sanctuaries and forest area bordering India.

Characteristics
The Indian rhino is grayish, with distinctive skin folds that make the rhino appear to be wearing plates of armor. Indian rhinos are hairless, except for eyelashes, ear tufts, and the tail tip. The Indian rhino has one horn comprised of keratin - just hair and fingernail material. The horn is typically 8” - 24” in length. A semi-prehensile lip enables the Indian rhino to feed on a very wide variety of grasses, leaves, branches, aquatic plants, and fruit. Like all rhinos, the Indian rhino is an odd-toed ungulate and has three toes on each foot. Also in common with other rhinos is a superb sense of hearing and keen sense of smell - but relatively poor eyesight.

Size
The Indian rhino, along with the roughly equal-sized white rhino, is the largest species of land mammal after the elephant.The Indian Rhino’s weight ranges from 1800 - 3200 Kg, and stands from 5.75 - 6.5 feet high at the shoulder. End-to-end, the Indian rhino can be 10 - 12.5 feet in length. Size of a baby is about 0.6mtr with a body weight of 45kg.

Activity
The Indian rhino is both fast and agile, running up to 50 kph for short distances and able to make sharp turns when necessary.Indian rhinos may spend 60% of their day in the water. They dive and feed under water; it is common to see just their snouts, eyes, and ears above the water. Females and calves of varying ages often reside together in small groups, known as a “crash”, while males are frequently solitary. Like many other mammals, rhino also have their territory and they also do the marking of their territory. Their way of marking is by urine and piles of dung. They are more active in morning & evening hours and in afternoon like to remain under shade to avoid hot sun-rays especially in summers.

Mating
In zoos, females may breed as young as four, but in the wild females are usually 06 before breeding begins. Male is considered to be mature for mating when he attains age of 07 years. The higher age in the wild may reflect that females need to be large enough to avoid being killed by the aggressive males. Sometimes choosing a mate can be difficult & dangerous. Male rhinos get engaged into conflicts for female. One male & female rhinos get ready for mating, it will last for several hours during which male remain with female. Afterwards male leaves the female. The Indian rhinoceros has a very lengthy gestation period of around 15-16 months. The interval between births ranges from 34–51 months.
In normal case only single baby is born. On very rare case it could be two baby in single gestation period. Rhino calf can stand steadily after an hour of his birth so that he can manage to feed. Size of a newborn calf is about 0.6 mtr. with body weight of 45kg or more. Calf remain dependent on mother's milk in first year and begin showing small bump on his/her on nose. Calf remain close to mother for 4-5years till mother again become pregnant.

Life Span
Indian Rhinos usually lives 30 - 45 years in the wild. It can be few year more in case of captivity. As per record, in has been seen to have lived for 47 years in captivity.

Diet
All the rhinos are herbivores by nature. Feeding occurs during the morning and evening. They drink for a minute or two at a time, often imbibing water filled with rhinoceros urine. The Indian rhinoceros is a grazer. Their diet consists almost entirely of grasses, but the rhino is also known to eat leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruits and submerged and floating aquatic plants. The rhino uses its prehensile lip to grasp grass stems, bend the stem down, bite off the top, and then eat the grass. With very tall grasses or saplings, the rhino will often walk over the plant, with its legs on both sides, using the weight of its body to push the end of the plant down to the level of the mouth. Mothers also use this technique to make food edible for their calves. Indian rhinos and white rhino are grazers.

Social life

The Indian one-horned rhinoceros forms a variety of social groupings. Adult males are generally solitary, except for mating and fighting. Adult females are largely solitary when they are without calves. Mothers will stay close to their calves for up to four years after their birth, sometimes allowing an older calf to continue to accompany her once a newborn calf arrives. Subadult males and females form consistent groupings as well. Groups of two or three young males will often form on the edge of the home ranges of dominant males, presumably for protection in numbers. Young females are slightly less social than the males. Indian Rhinos also form short-term groupings, particularly at forest wallows during the monsoon season and in grasslands during March and April. Groups of up to 10 rhinos may gather in wallows—typically a dominant male with females and calves, but no subadult males.
The Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros makes a wide variety of vocalizations. At least ten distinct vocalizations have been identified: snorting, honking, bleating, roaring, squeak-panting, moo-grunting, shrieking, groaning, rumbling and humphing. In addition to noises, the rhino uses olfactory communication. Adult males urinate backwards, as far as 3–4 meters behind them, often in response to being disturbed by observers. Like all rhinos, the Indian rhinoceros often defecates near other large dung piles. The Indian Rhino has pedal scent glands, which are used to mark their presence at these rhino latrines. Males have been observed walking with their heads to the ground as if sniffing, presumably following the scent of females.
In aggregations, Indian Rhinos are often friendly. They will often greet each other by waving or bobbing their heads, mounting flanks, nuzzling noses, or licking. Rhinos will playfully spar, run around, and play with twigs in their mouth. Adult males are the primary instigators in fights. Fights between dominant males are the most common cause of rhino mortality and males are also very aggressive toward females during courtship. Males will chase females over long distances and even attack them face-to-face. Unlike African Rhinos, the Indian Rhinos, during conflicts, make use of its incisors rather than its horn.



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