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Greater One-Horned Rhino

IUCN Red List:  Endangered
CITES:  Appendix I

The greater one-horned rhino is one of the two greatest success stories in rhino conservation (the other one being the southern white rhino in South Africa). With strict protection from Indian and Nepalese wildlife authorities, greater one-horned rhino numbers have recovered from fewer than 200 earlier in the 20th century to as many as 3,333 today. However, even with population increases, poaching pressure has remained high in both India and Nepal. The species’ recovery is precarious without increased and accelerated support for conservation efforts throughout its range.


Current Greater One-horned Rhino Numbers and Distribution
There currently are approximately 3,333 greater one-horned rhinos surviving (IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist Group, 2013).

 

Biology

  • The greater one-horned rhino lives in northern India and southern Nepal. In both areas, the species mainly inhabits riverine (floodplain) grasslands and occasionally utilizes some adjacent woodland.
  • Greater one-horned rhinos are grazers, although occasionally they consume browse. When not grazing on land, animals like to immerse themselves in water, where they also graze on aquatic grass-like plants. This species is the most amphibious of the living rhinos.
  • Gestation lasts approximately 15-16 months, and mothers give birth to one calf every 2-3 years.
  • Females reach sexual maturity between 5 and 7 years of age; males mature at approximately 10 years of age.
  • Greater one-horned rhinos are usually solitary except for females with young. Males maintain loosely-defended territories.

IRF programs in Asia. 
Learn more about the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project.

greater-one-horned-rhino-distribution-map

Common Names

  • Greater one-horned rhinoceros: referring to the single large horn
  • Indian and/or Nepalese rhinoceros: referring to the species'  range


Scientific Name and Origin
Rhinoceros unicornis

Rhinoceros: from the Greek “rhino”, meaning "nose" and “ceros”, meaning "horn" and “unicornis” from the Latin “uni”, meaning "one" and “cornis”, meaning "horn"


Physical Characteristics
Size

Weight: 4,000-6,000 lbs (1,800 - 2,700 kg) 
Height: 5.75 - 6.5 feet (1.75 - 2.0 m) tall at shoulder 
Length: 10- 12.5 feet (3.0-3.8m) length of head and body

 

Horn
As the name suggests, greater one-horned rhinos have a single horn 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61 cm) long.
 
Other Features: Brownish-gray, hairless, with folds of skin that resemble plates of armor with rivets. The upper lip is semi-prehensile, well-adapted to grasping branches and leaves.