Forest and Wildlife Department,

Government of Uttar Pradesh, India

Shri. Yogi Adityanath

Hon'ble Chief Minister,Uttar Pradesh

Shri. Dara Singh Chauhan

Hon'ble Minister,Forest Department

Rhinoceros of Dudhwa-1

Rhinoceros of Dudhwa

The word 'Rhinoceros' is a combination of two Greek words - Rhino means nose and Keros means horn, that is a creature with horn on its nose.

Fossils discovered in many locations in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia confirms the first appearance of Rhino like animals i.e. Hyrachus on earth 60-40 million years ago. Its size was somewhat between that of a large dog and a horse. After 20-30 million years Hyrachus developed long slender legs with three toes on each foot and were known as Hyracodon. A lot more changes occurred in the Rhino throughout the period. Around one million year ago the Rhino like animal was called as Coelodonta, i.e. wooly rhinoceros.

Geological upheavals, climatic changes as well as biotic factors have ensured that most of the several dozen genera of the family Rhinocerotidae have become extinct. At present there are only five species in the world, two in Southern & Eastern Africa and three in tropical Asia. All five extant species today are also threatened with extinction due to interference by man. Due to its present status it has been included in the Appendix-I of CITES and Indian Rhino has been included in the schedule-I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

  • The African white or Squaretipped Rhinoceros (Caratotherium simum) Average weight is 3.6 tons and average shoulder height is 198 cm. The actual colour is grey. White word comes from the African word 'Weit" i.e. wide square mouth of the animal. It is the biggest of all the five Rhinos and also the second largest terrestrial mammal after the elephant. It has two horns on its nose, anterior one larger than the posterion. Only male has horns.
  • The African Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) Average weight 1.5 to 2.0 tons and shoulder height is 160 to 170 cm. It has two horns. It is the largest member of Rhinos found out of the five species.
  • The Asiatic two Horned or Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinussumatrensis) The average weight is 0.85 to 1.0 ton and shoulder height 120 to 130 cm. It is the smallest of the five, and population is around 100. Being two horned it forms a link between Asiatic and African Rhino. It is the only Rhino, which has hair on its body.
  • The lesser One Horned or Javan Rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) The average weight is around 1.5 to 1.3 tons and shoulder height is 160-175 cm. It has a single horn.
  • The Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) The average weight is 2.0 tons and shoulder height 170-180 cm. Male & female both has horn and also of almost equal length. The horn length is 35- 40 cm.

Fossil remnants show that all the 3 species of Asiatic Rhino were to be found in India in the prehistoric past. None of the five extant species has upper canine. Cutting teeth or incisor is reduced. Asiatic species have heavy folds on their body in comparison to African ones. Though the skin of GIOH Rhino like the others is unusually thick & seems to be impenetrable, in reality it is quite soft and is easily cut by a knife or penetrated. Rhino's vision is extremely poor but sense of hearing and smell are acute. In Indian Rhinos it is very difficult to distinguish a male from a female, but the female skull is slightly thinner and base of the horn narrower and horn slimmer. The horn of rhino is not a true horn because it does not have a core of bone. Instead it is a compact mass of keratin fibres, not fixed to the skull, but resting on a bony cushion. The Indian Rhinos can attain a speed of 48-50 km/hr whereas an elephant can attain only 32 km/hr

Indian Rhino (IR) is basically a grazer. It loves wallowing i.e. mud bathing during the hotter part of the day to lower its body temperature and to obtain relief from ectoparasites. Whereas other Rhinos are browser i.e. more adapted to live in woodlands. IR is restricted to the alluvial plains of mega Rivers such as Indus, Ganges, Yamuna and Bra mhaputra. It remained confined to the Northern half of the Indian subcontinent. It is of course also found in plain, marshy, riverine terrains at a higher elevation such as Chitwan in Nepal and Bhutan on the foothills of Eastern Himalaya i.e. Manas & Jaldapara.

In case of IR mating is the only activity that brings the male & female together or else IR is a solitary animal. There is no fixed season for mating. The average age of sexual maturity of female rhino is 8-9 years and for male 9-10 years. Female IR is polyestrous, with an estrus cycle of 46- 48 days, and remains for 2-3 days. When a female rhino comes to estrus it urinates frequently and runs to and fro and shows an air of restlessness, intake of food becomes low. A male will detect the pheromone in urine of the female and will be aroused for mating. A pregnant detected only at least 6 months after conception, when there is a swelling of her underbelly. Before delivery her stomach almost touches the ground. Gestation period for IR is 16-18 months. Single birth is a rule and give birth to fully developed ones i.e. precocial. Delivery is anterior i.e. head and forelegs comes out first. The newborn calf is completely red in colour & after 3-4 weeks changes into greyish black colour. Average lying out period is one day. The average intercalving period is 42 months. As the case in content of rhino milk is low, the calf has to suckle every half hour or so. Average suckling period for rhinos is 18 months. At the age of 4 years, rhino calf attains relative physical maturity and afterwards the growth is slow.