Summary

Indian Rhinoceros are one of five living species of rhinoceros found in Africa and Southern Asia. The name rhinoceros comes from the Greek "rhinos" meaning nose and "keratos" meaning horn. The Indian Rhinoceros has only one horn, giving it its species name of unicornis and its alternative common name of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros. This specimen does not have a horn.

Today Indian Rhinoceros are restricted to reserves in northern India and southern Nepal but before hunting and agriculture reduced their numbers they were found across the grass covered floodplains of the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins from Pakistan through the north of India and Nepal into Bangladesh. Where or when this specimen was collected is unknown.

Populations of Indian Rhinoceros declined dramatically between 1600 and 1900, largely due to increased cultivation of the river floodplains on which they lived. In the late nineteenth century sport hunting by Europeans became common and contributed to a further sharp decline. In the early twentieth century Indian Rhinoceros were on the brink of extinction which led to a ban on sport hunting and governmental protection for the remaining populations.

Numbers of Indian Rhinoceros reached a low of around 1,800 individuals in the wild in the 1990s. Since then the population has nearly doubled due to conservation efforts. In 2015 it was estimated there were 3,555 living in the wild and populations are still increasing. However, they occur at fewer than ten sites and 70% of the population live in just one; Kaziranga National Park. This means that not just that individual population, but the entire species is at risk from any catastrophic event that impacts this single population.

Like all rhinoceros species, Indian Rhinoceros are poached for their horns for the Chinese traditional medicine market and this remains perhaps the major threat to this species. Loss of habitat to agriculture and invasive plants is also a threat.

The Indian Rhinoceros is considered Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), making it one of the least endangered of all the rhinoceros species. Most rhinoceros species are Critically Endangered and some have fewer than 100 individuals living in the wild. Like all rhinoceros the Indian Rhinoceros is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) making all international trade in them illegal.

Specimen Details

Taxonomy

Geospatial Information

  • Precise Location

    Unknown