The Indian rhinoceros, scientifically known as Rhinoceros unicornis, is a large mammal belonging to the family Rhinocerotidae. It is also popular by the names Greater One-horned Rhinoceros and Asian One-horned Rhinoceros. This species is found inhabiting the parts of north-eastern India and protected areas in the Terai of Nepal. They once ranged throughout the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In historic times, the Indian rhinos were said to occur in the sub-Himalayan region all along the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins. This huge animal is believed to be disappeared over much of its range by the beginning of 19th century. It was close to extinction at the arrival 20th century.
The Indian Rhinoceros is the 4th largest land animal. Typical characteristic is the presence of one nasal horn, present in both male and female. The horn is black in color and is made up of pure keratin, like human fingernails. Its skin has loose folds and rivet-like knobs, that’s why it appears as if armored. Average body length is 412 cm and girth is 396 cm. The female Indian rhino can weigh up to 1600 kg, while a male is heavier and can weigh up to 2200 kg. The average height of the female is about 1.6 m; the males average about 1.8 m. The species is active mostly at night, in early morning and in the late afternoon; and spent the middle of the day by resting. Apart from cow-calf pairs, Indian rhinos rarely form groups and adult males are usually solitary. The Indian rhino is not territorial.
The main reason for the decline of the Indian rhino from its historical levels was the loss of alluvial plain grasslands to agricultural development, which destroyed the rhino’s prime habitat, led to conflicts with human interests, and made the rhino more accessible to hunters. Most of them can be seen today only in sanctuaries. With due efforts, its population has increased in the late 20th century.